TEAM FREDETTE…..It’s a name in the sport’s world that was first known nationally because of the TBT basketball tournament. TBT stands for THE BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT so putting the basketball tournament at the end of that last sentence is sort of redundant but it’s for those that aren’t aware of those initials.
Last year in the 2018 TBT, Team Fredette came up just short of the finals in a thrilling succession of wins to get there. Jimmer played on the team at the request of his older brother TJ, who is co-manager along with Dan Britten. For the last 3 years, Tj recruited and put together a great group of talented guys and a coach who would become Team Fredette. This year Jimmer did not play but was assistant coach (for the opening game in Salt Lake) along with his former BYU coach, Dave Rose. I loved seeing them together once more. Again Tj recruited a great group of guys, but unfortunately suffered a very close loss in the second round.
Their claim to fame in the TBT so far is that Team Fredette staged the greatest comeback in TBT history to come from behind by over 20 points in the second half, which by the way is only 18 minutes long in TBT. They put on a shooting display that was phenomenal. Very exciting. The next game could have gone either way in the end, but it was not meant to be. Besides being a little frustrating at times, it’s an exciting and enjoyable experience for all that are a part of that team, not only for the basketball, but for the social atmosphere and lifelong friendships that have been formed.
More recently and locally, the TEAM FREDETTE name has been used for a 5 week summer basketball league. It was something that we had never tried before so we didn’t know what to expect. A parent named James Cuyler, actually came to us the year before and asked our permission to use the TEAM FREDETTE name to start a summer league over in another area park. We want to give him credit for initiating the program. He does a great job encouraging and recruiting kids to join the league. This year we decided to bring the program over to Crandall Park in Glens Falls, which is a more visible venue to the public. We weren’t sure about how many would sign up for the league and if we would have enough kids to form teams to play each other. To our surprise, over 130 kids signed up (boys and girls)…. so we all got to work.
Coming from a very sports orientated family, I can say that I have watched hundreds, if not thousands, of games over my lifetime. My father was a coach for over 35 years, 3 brothers played and coached, my 3 children played, my husband played and coached and even now my grandchildren are playing…over the years I have watched summer leagues, AAU, middle school and high school games, college games, professional games and still going.
So for me to sit and watch this Team Fredette Summer Basketball League was second nature to me. I parked myself under a shade tree with a table in front of me. I guess I had the easiest job at the games because I was sort of the information table and could direct them to bottles of water or distribute what was needed like extra shirts, schedules, whistles, tape, pencils, etc. On a side note, the chair that I brought and sat in at every game was my father’s sturdy, colorful, folding chair. It was one of the things I saved for myself after he passed on. He has been long gone but it seems like the chair has a spirit of its own and the auro around it still lingers. Maybe his spirit is still there. It was the one that he used to sit in at every game that he could find to watch after he was retired from teaching and coaching… high school summer basketball league games, football games, soccer games, baseball games, including his grandchildren’s games. He would sit there with his sharp coaching eyes and access the talent that he was seeing. I feel like I carry on that tradition….something about that chair. Maybe someday one of my children will keep it. I hope so.
I absolutely loved watching the kids play. It was a wonderful action-packed family atmosphere with parents and grandparents gathered on the grass to watch their kids. There was soccer and softball going on also at the same time in the fields. Lots of action! To me, it felt like old times and brought back memories of the many times our kids played at Crandall Park. I remember how excited Jimmer was to finally be old enough to play with his older brother TJ and father in pick up games on those courts. Crandall Park has a real history to it with our family. How good it felt to see this new generation of kids playing and enjoying team basketball on these courts again. As I watched the kids, both boys and girls, because of my background and maybe because of that chair, I could pick out the kids that were advanced in their skills, the kids that had that real killer instinct in sports, the kids that had no idea how to play, the kids that had obviously been taught some fundamentals of the game, and then the kids that were only there because their parents wanted them to have some physical activity this summer. That was ok too! But I can tell you for sure, by the end of those 5 weeks, the kids learned how to run up and down the court and be a part of a team. The first few games on the courts were not easy because it was very hot and very humid so I have to hand it to the kids, as well as the coaches and refs, for hanging in there throughout it all.
Our son Tj was gone for most of the league because he was out West at the TBT tournament with our professional Team Fredette but he was able to be at the last few games at Crandall Park. He said he enjoyed the fun atmosphere of the league and was able to talk to some groups about the importance of setting goals. He told the story about “The Contract” that he entered into with Jimmer. We actually still have the original contract written on that beige crummy paper. As long as I can remember, Jimmer’s goal was to be a professional basketball player and make it to the NBA. Even way back to grade school when the kids were expected to write something in their journal everyday, Jimmer always wrote about something pertaining to basketball. He never wavered from his belief that he was going to play in the NBA someday and wrote down many times that he was going to make it to the NBA even though he was only in the 3rd grade. I still have the journals. Somehow he absolutely knew what his future was going to be. I know that a lot of kids say that when they are young and we all think it’s cute… but Jimmer really meant it! He lived and breathed it. The seed was planted in his brain at about the age of 3 and that desire just grew and grew. One day as Tj watched him workout in high school, he could see that Jimmer had real talent and fire in his eyes, so that day TJ whipped out that old piece of paper, quickly drew up a contract that Jimmer signed, as well as Tj as a witness, saying that he was setting a goal to do all of the work necessary to make it to the NBA. TJ half jokingly said, (but was actually serious), something to the effect that you know Jimmer this is a legally binding contract so you can’t break it. Jimmer didn’t joke at all. He was never going to break that contract so he worked hard every day with that unshakable determination and commitment to reach that goal…and he did it! So with one of the groups, Tj talked about the importance of setting goals…some short term goals and some long term goals. He told them that it doesn’t have to be in basketball or even in any sport, but find out what your passion is and go work towards meeting your goals with that passion. Plant the seed in your brain and go get it…and your never too old to set goals for yourself.
In our program we try to instill in them the value of making good decisions in their lives. Good decisions build good character. Our mission statement is simple and the intent of our programs is this:
“Team Fredette’s mission is to help young people strengthen their character through training and playing fundamentally sound, competitive basketball.
Players will be strongly encouraged and reminded often how important good choices will be for their future.
Players will learn the importance of respect, including self- respect, manners, self- control, hard work, teamwork and sacrifice.”
I said this before but I will say it again…never once during that whole 5 week session did I hear any swearing, see any fighting or trash talking, and saw no one intentionally trip or try to hurt another player. Instead I saw kids that encouraged their teammates, gave up shots to pass to their teammates, helped each other up if they fell on the court, pats on the back or high fives after making shots or a good pass, and on an on. Always a thank you and please when asking me for something. Kids offered to help us carry things back and forth to the car. I saw friendships formed after starting out a little shy or hesitant about playing with kids that they didn’t know. They all grew in many ways, maybe learned a little bit about the game, about interaction with other kids, about teamwork, and hopefully they will take some lasting memories of their time in the TEAM FREDETTE SUMMER LEAGUE. I know that I will. It was wonderful to see.
Before I close I have to thank so many people. I hesitate to mention any names because I don’t want to leave anyone out but here goes…First and foremost, we want to thank the Buttino family, Debi, Nick, Dante and Tia. I don’t know what we would have done without their help. They drove down from Chestertown every week (3 times a week) lugging tables, chairs, basketballs, water, and the kitchen sink. They came early to help set up and at the end help clean up. They loaded up their van and then helped to load up our car at the end of the night. Debi spent countless hours on the computer sending emails out to all of the registrants to keep them informed, answering the phone and answering the many questions that the parents had. Things kept changing because of parent’s requests so she had to keep updating the registrants on a daily basis or hourly basis sometimes. She did a great job and she did it cheerfully. She also took many pictures and downloaded them on the Team Fredette facebook page. Way to go Debi!
Nick Buttino is one of nicest men on the face of the Earth. I really mean that. He is kind. He is helpful. He is encouraging to all of the kids. He is patient and he is humble. He carried those scoring tables in and out of his van at every game. He helped to coach where needed. He kept score and kept time with the blazing sun shining down on him throughout the games. He was there at every single game and all we had to do is to ask him anything and he would do it. What a tremendous help he was. Thank you Nick.
Their children Dante and Tia played on their separate teams, but they also helped us in any way that they could. They were referees, they coached, and they carried things in and out of the vehicles. Their help was invaluable to us and we thank them so much. They are following the example of their parents to be helpful and to give service. Wonderful kids and I’ll miss seeing them.
A big debt of gratitude to Brian Travis who traveled to be with us and help with coaching, reffing, even playing one time to fill in for a missing kid on a team. He gave of his time to have many free sessions of basketball training in the oppressive heat. He would drive up after a long day at work to help in any way that he could. He is a skilled and knowledgeable basketball and agility trainer and we are happy to have him on board with Team Fredette for our Contract Training program. Josh Horton, a former Argyle high school and college player, joined us for a few sessions to help with basketball drills and training methods. He is a terrific guy and a great basketball player also and we thank him so much.
James Cuyler came to every game to coach his son’s team and any team that needed a coach. He also reffed many games. I could hear him shout out encouraging, constructive words to his teams. James is a part of Team Fredette and will also be working in our “Contract Training” program. He recently was hired by the North Warren School system to be a head coach for the varsity team. He’ll be one busy guy. Thank you James for all that you do for Team Fredette.
To the parents…thank you for your support of our Team Fredette Summer League and beyond. Without you, of course there would be no local Team Fredette. Thank you to the parents that volunteered to coach or to ref, to keep the score, and the time or do anything that was helpful to us. Thank you for bringing your children each week and staying to watch them. Thank you to the grandparents that came to watch also. You don’t realize how important it is to show an interest in your children or grandchildren’s endeavors no matter what it is. They need your approval, encouragement and attention as they are forming their self image and building their self-confidence little by little. I could see the thrill in the kid’s eyes as they made a basket or made a good pass, and they would look over to see if their loved ones were watching. Makes me happy just thinking about their reaction when they knew they did good in their parent’s eyes.
To all of those that came to fill in for Al or help in any way, thank you!!! I don’t want to name names for fear of missing someone but you know who you are. There is a group of friends that are always willing to help us. Thank you to the refs that came in their “official” reffing shirts. That always gives a special mental boost to those kids playing in those games.
Also a big thank you to the Glens Falls City Hall Rec. Dept for allowing us to reserve those 2 Crandall Park courts for the 5 weeks of basketball. The city workers were kind enough to bring benches and picnic tables over for the convenience and comfort of the teams and the parents. Also for the days it rained, we are so grateful to Sam at the Ft. Edward school for allowing us to use the High School gym. You were a lifesaver! Thank you!
Last, but not least, since it’s me that writing this, I’d like to acknowledge all of the work that my husband Al and my children do to help this venture of Team Fredette. Al did a tremendous amount of work to put the summer league teams together. Believe me it wasn’t an easy job. He worked long into the night to get them all set. Our daughter Lindsay is a whiz on the computer so she is a great asset for us and always willing to help in any way she can. Tj will oversee everything. He likes organization. He will also do agility/basketball training in Contract Training. He’s very knowledgeable in both basketball and agility training because he has been around it for so long. He trained also as a little guy with his uncle Lee Taft, one of the best in the world. TJ is also a great motivational speaker so it’s something that we will incorporate into Team Fredette from time to time. Then there is Jimmer who has limited time but is always willing to help and appear at anything we ask him to do. He never hesitates. If he can do it, he will do it for us. He keeps an eye on all that we do and enjoys watching the kids learn and grow like he did. He is actually coming to Glens Falls for a short stay (has to be best man in a family wedding) and agreed to do an appearance at the clinic we have planned for August 31st. Lee Taft, my brother, has also agreed to come to do the clinic with his great knowledge and experience of teaching agility, speed, footwork etc. He has agreed to be someone that we can always consult if there are any questions from us or the parents of our athletes. Thank you to him. We are so thrilled and grateful to both Lee and Jimmer to give up their time and energy to do this for Team Fredette.
One more thing….a professional photographer, who is also a huge basketball fan, happened to be there at the park when the league started. After seeing all that was going on he came back the next day to take some wonderful pictures of the whole scene. I’ve seen some of them and they are beautifully done. He will have them available soon for any parent that wants to purchase one of their son or daughter. We will let you know.
So that’s it! Team Fredette has a lot of help from many different people and without them it wouldn’t be possible. Al and I are not young chickens anymore so we appreciate all the help we can get. It was a labor of love for our area youth.
Thanks for stopping by!
Here is the link in case you are interested in registering your child for the clinic coming up in 2 weeks. What a deal you are getting!