GOING BACK TO UTAH

That’s Al out there wandering around amongst some amazing rock formations in St. George, Utah.

I have always said that everyone who lives in the East should visit the West, and everyone in the West should visit the East.  I have had the great pleasure and fortune of living in one and visiting the other many times.  Each one is unique and each one has it’s own kind of beauty.  Utah has the Wasatch Mountains and the East has the Adirondack Mountains.  Both spectacular, both impressive.  I could spend a lot of time talking about the differences in the East and the West but this post is about our September 2-week stay in Utah.  I think below these first few paragraphs, I will just show you the great time we had instead of just talking about it.

Two of our children went to Brigham Young University and the other one went to school out here in the East.  When our son Jimmer was given a scholarship to play for BYU, we knew we would have to spend a lot of time out there if we wanted to see his games.  This is no lie….the entire 4 years that he played, we literally only went from our daughter Lindsay’s house in Taylorsville, Utah, down to Provo, Utah (about 40 minutes away) to see the games and sometimes visit with friends. We never had a chance to do any sightseeing at all.  About the extent of it was seeing whatever there is to see on the I-15 highway down to the Marriot Center where they played the games. I never got sick of seeing those gigantic mountains out of our front and side windows, but it would have been nice to see other gigantic mountains in Utah too. 

Well this past trip to Utah, we were able to finally do just that.  We traveled out for our annual (Jimmerosity) Fredette Family Foundation golf tournament… but this time we stayed a little longer than usual to be able to visit our daughter and her family in the Salt Lake City region.  We also traveled down to St. George, Utah to see my sweet and talented youngest sister, Tish, 2 of her kids and families, and her husband Jim.  Jim, by the way, is the greatest tour guide of all time….even convinced me (who is kind of afraid of heights) to go up on the highest section of the red rocks. Glad I did.  I saw quite a view. He even enlightened me on how to take a panoramic view picture on my phone.  Thank you Jim.  I never knew I had that on my phone! 

What a great, action-packed time we had!  I loved seeing my daughter Lindsay and her family for a while. It’s the first time I saw them since their move back to Utah. We had so much fun. The only tough thing for us was that Jimmer wasn’t able to be there at his golf tournament for the first time in 7 years because he is playing in Greece now and their season starts very early.  His wife Whitney did a great job in filling in with the ceremonial Tee Off and the little thank you speech at the luncheon.  Our President and CEO, Blair Giles, who always does a wonderful job organizing the event, was able to get a video set up of Jimmer interacting with kids and parents at many fun events and activities throughout the year.  So it kind of felt like he was there. 

Instead of writing more, I will just show you our trip in pictures and video.  Here we go!

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This is the East in October of  this year…both pretty amazing. I’ll show more later.

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This is Utah in September of this year….

 

good form Linz

Lindsay in the backyard.  She’s still real competitive.  Good form Linz! Her husband Brent watching.

jason and bball

She’s taking on her son, Jason in a game of knockout.

tyler

Handsome Tyler giving me a smile.

 

 

 

 

good climbing peach tree

Chris always active and swinging in the peach tree.

shay in the tree

Beautiful little Shay

 

Fun times with my daughter and her family.

Flag football league games, soccer, climbing trees, feeding the chickens, BYU football game, riding bikes, fun school science fair, jumping on the tramp, basketball and more…

 

Our annual Fredette Family Foundation (Jimmerosity) golf tournament

This first picture is how it always starts out at the Marriot Hotel.  Blair and Cynthia always make sure we all our greeted with this big box of chocolate chip cookies.  They are so good! Thank you to them.  The second picture is our view from the hotel window.  I never get over how incredible those mountains are with the famous Y planted right in the middle.

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along the course 2019

A sign along the course to remind us all to treat people well and combat bullying everywhere. That’s a BYU Jimmer picture many years ago but I still love it.

whit jason wesley taft

Whitney with kids and cousin Jason on the patio of Sleepy Ridge. So fun to be together for a few hours.

shay and shoe

Shay trying to get her shoe on. Serious business!

wesley at sleep ridge

Little Wesley having fun

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Seeing this little face for only the second time.

twins birthday party

A breakaway from the Tournament..First birthday for the Wonnacott Twins and Wesley

Lunch after the tournament….and prizes for the winners!

 

whit talking at the end tourney

Whitney filling in for Jimmer. She did a great job!

after lunch

Lunch and award ceremony

steve young jersey

This guy won a signed Steve Young jersey. He was so happy to win that. Sorry for the blur.  He walked by too fast.

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Al and Blair thanking everyone at the end. Sorry I couldn’t get the videos to work on this thing.

winners in Provo rec

Video of the past year with Jimmer events.  This is just a picture but in person they had a video running of many different activities.

me and grandchildren

Al and I with our grandchildren all at once for the first time. Love these kids! Wonderful memories of our 2019 Fredette Family Foundation Golf Tournament

Whitney did a great job filling in for Jimmer during the awards luncheon.  Al and Blair alway say a few words of thanks to all that attended and give updates on some of the things our Fredette Family Foundation is accomplishing.  All because of the support and generous donations that we receive. We can’t give enough thanks to all of our volunteers and sponsors for helping us pull off another successful tournament.  We absolutely can’t do it without them.

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Our visit to St. George…way down south in Utah. Thank you, Tish and Jim, for the wonderful visit and hospitality.  Here she is in her kitchen.  She tells her husband Jim, who is a jack of all trade, what she wants and he builds it.  She did that painting on her wall.  She’s a talented, creative gal! It was so much fun to see them.

 

 

 

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Here are some pictures of what it is like in the East in the Fall season where we live and some pictures of Utah and their magnificent mountains and rock formations.  They both look different at different times of the year.  The Fall foliage this year was beautiful but it came later than usual.  Some years are better than others.  It all depends on the weather conditions.   In the East, we have many, many lakes and trees.  All of us, no matter where we live,  seem to take the beauty around us for granted.

Here’s the East in October this year.

 

Here are the magnificent, majestic mountains and rock formations of Utah. These pictures do not do them justice.  They look almost like drawings.  They are breathtaking in person.

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Thank you for your visit to my blog.  Sorry it’s so long but pictures sometimes are worth more than the words. I had a wonderful time out there with my family and friends in Utah.  I am thankful for the blessings we have, the experiences we have, and the people we have met along the way.

 

Until next time…

Kay

 

 

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TEAM FREDETTE

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! 

Kay

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! 

https://campscui.active.com/orgs/JimmerJamBasketballCamp?season=2684708

team fredette summer campsummer league 5team fredette summer league2

girls summer drills crandal park

 

 

tj talking to girls

contract 1

The famous contract…mispelled word and all.

 

 

 

 

 

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My Father’s Writing

dad at retirement

The other day I was looking through some old pictures and old memories that I had stored away and among  them was a card that was written by my father.  It was an anniversary card to my husband and I. He must have sent some money in it because at the end he said to go out and have a nice dinner on him.

My mother died in 1999 so it must have been written somewhere in the 9 years that he lived after her passing. He wrote a very sentimental note to us about treasuring every moment that we had together.  Looking back I realize that as he wrote it, he must have been suffering his own personal pain of loosing his wife (my mother) of 57 years.  As he wrote those words, I’m sure he was thinking how fast time goes by and that he never thought that he would be sitting there without her. He always said to me “I always thought that I would go first.”  So besides the anguish that he felt of loosing his lifelong partner, he had anxiety about living on his own.

It was with a lot of sadness and concern that my siblings and I watched him struggle to come to terms with life without her.  I must say though, even at his age,  being left alone was a growing experience for him because all of a sudden he had to do everything that my mother used to do for him.   We were proud of him as he learned and handled the day to day responsibilities that my mother always took care of for them.  He was always too busy working outside the home to even notice all the little things that had to be done in a household. Little by little he managed to carve out a life and a routine for himself.  Not saying that he didn’t miss and think about my mother everyday, but the pain of it all lessened as time went on.  Of course all of his children pitched in to help in any way that we could and as he got older and more forgetful, it became more of a worry to us. I think he may have banged into a few different things in Whitehall with his big Cadillac, that we weren’t aware of……yes the car situation becomes an issue eventually in every family with elderly parents to monitor. I think our kids may have to wrestle the keys out of my husband’s hands.  That’s ok, you may be able to take him by then.   Ha ha

When I saw the writing of my father, a flood of emotions came over me. Wow he really was here. He was our father and we had a life with him. After so many years when your parents have passed, the memories fade and it almost seems like a dream. You remember bits and pieces and certain times you had with them, maybe something they said or did…mostly good, and maybe some not so good, but then you think, no matter what, they loved you, sacrificed for you, and did their best.

Some children don’t have the blessing of a father in their home but I have seen many uncles, grandfathers, older brothers, or good responsible male friends step up to the plate and be good role models for the children. It goes without saying that the mother in the home is without a doubt one of the most powerful forces and examples to the children…but I am just talking about fathers today.

My father was a printer….not a cursive writer and it was unique to him. It’s funny because my son Jimmer prints his notes also.  He signs his name in cursive but other than that, it’s all printed.  The inclination to print must have been hereditary in some way because I know Jimmer never really saw his grandfather print.  It is just Jimmer’s style.

My father had a long list of accomplishments in his life, father of 6 children, good athlete, served in both the Army Air Corp, US Navy, teacher, iron worker in the summers, director of athletics, high school principal and one of his most notable and enjoyable positions was that of a high school coach.  Until the day he died, his athletes affectionately called him “Coach.”  Although he coached every sport that was offered in our small school, his main stomping ground was down at the “Playground” in Whitehall.  In fact, I remember helping to hand out the football uniforms every year along with my brothers and I proudly got in all of the team pictures taken on the field each year.  Such fond memories of that field we all have.  It was named “The Clint Taft Memorial Field.”  “Legacy of a Coach”  He would have been so happy to see the monumental stone that was erected for him.  My Mom would have loved it too.

Granddaughter Lindsay and Grandson TJ. Jimmer was away at college at this time.

Sports was something that sustained him all of the years that he was on his own after my mother died.  He would scour the paper to see what sporting event he could attend that day. He was fiercely loyal to his hometown teams of Whitehall, NY.  My brother, Lee, was a football coach in a town about 45 minutes away from Whitehall.  Dad made sure he drove up to all of his games, to not only enjoy them, but also to support him.  As I talked about, it was a time of Dad’s life when he probably shouldn’t have been driving, but he did it anyways because the desire to see his son’s football games overshadowed everything else. He loved it and it was something for him to look forward to every week. I accompanied him to all of those games and it was a chance for us to spend hours of good quality time together.  Lee was such a good coach and I know Dad was proud of him…. and maybe relived his coaching days through him. Actually my brother Jerry was a coach for a short amount of time in Luzerne when they had 8 man football.  Fun to watch him too.  He was also a very enthusiastic and knowledgeable coach. We all never missed those games either…it was always a family affair if we were living locally. My brother Jimmy was a great basketball coach in Connecticut for years but it was too far away to see the game regularly but if it was possible, my father would have been there at every game. Me too! 

Sports was in his blood. He played it, he coached it, and he watched it until the day he died. He also attended all of my children’s games (his grandchildren) that were at least a half hour of driving away.   Both my mother and father would attend my son Tj’s games, Lindsay’s games, and Jimmer’s little league games if it was possible.  For little league, you could see them sitting behind the backstop in their fold up chairs.  I still can remember the feeling I had, after my mother’s passing, when I looked behind the backstop at the game and there he was…. sitting alone without my mother until Al and I went to join him. Even if we weren’t there I know he would have stayed to enjoy the game. Took some getting used to seeing him come in the ball park alone, but it made me feel good that he still enjoyed every minute of it.  After all, it was competition and it didn’t matter if it was tiddly winks, he would enjoy the process of the back and forth effort to win.

He was a wonderful man, father and “Gramps” to us all.  My son Tj called him the king of the one liners.  He was kind, compassionate, competitive, funny, a kidder, and of all that he had going on in his life, one of his greatest joys was being a father of 6 children and grandfather of 14 grandchildren. He was an only child himself, so a big family was something that he never had, but wished for, when he was young.  He had that large family eventually with us 3 girls and 3 boys.

So Father’s day was last weekend. I honored the great fathers in my life… my husband, one of my sons who is a father now, my brothers, my son-in-law, my children’s friends who are now fathers, and all in our extended families that are fathers, but my thoughts gravitated to my own father, who I loved and lost in this life but have no doubt that I will be reunited with him one day.  It’s the plan and God keeps his promises to us.

So I hope everyone enjoyed their special Father’s day.  You are all an integral and special part of your children’s lives. You only get one chance at this parenthood thing. Even though it’s inevitable that you will look back with some regrets, make a conscious effort to give it your very best shot.  I can promise you that giving your children time and attention will be the greatest accomplishment in your life.  Never underestimate the importance of fathers or father figures in a child’s life.

Those 18 years or so you have with them go by faster than you can imagine.

Thanks for stopping by.

Until next time…see ya.   

PS…I wrote this in green because it was his favorite color.  It’s funny that Jimmer’s uniform colors are now green.   For you Dad. Thinking of you.  Happy Birthday…

dad's signature     gramps dad

 

PS  This picture of his writing was the last that I got from him.  You can see that it was getting a little wobbly from age… but his heart was all in it for me.

 

 

 

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Jimmer and China

A few weeks ago an article was written about Jimmer and his basketball season in China with the Shanghai Sharks.  It was brought to our attention that the article painted a negative picture of his life over there.  I didn’t think about that at the time when I first read it so I went back to read it over again.  I guess I can see what they mean.   It does sound a little bit bleak in some of the writer’s assessment of Jimmer’s life over there. He’s a really nice guy and a good writer but I think that maybe he was going for the dramatic affect and maybe his perception of what he saw was a little different than what Jimmer and my husband (who has spent many weeks over there) know to be true.  Some of his description of things over there made it seem a little more lonely or negative than it actually is for Jimmer.  Maybe the name “Jimo Dashen”, meaning the lonely master, got to the journalist.

After the article appeared in the Deseret News, another man, who currently lives in Shanghai and has met Jimmer, took offense to the the article because of the perceived dreary portrayal of Shanghai and published a rebuttal blog post. (Both articles are on my Facebook page) I must say after reading his blog , I can appreciate his thoughts on the Deseret News article.   I am actually grateful to him for bringing this to our attention. I didn’t think that people would take it that way but I guess some people did.  The last thing Jimmer and our family would want to do is to offend, in any way, the Chinese people and the great city of Shanghai. So I wanted to set the record straight concerning that.

My husband Al went over to China with Jimmer on the first trip last year.  I was so glad that Al was going to accompany him because, let’s face it, going that far away in a strange land, not knowing the language or what to expect, is a little intimidating for anyone. Jimmer’s wife was pregnant at the time, and understandably, she couldn’t go with him.  Not only is the length of the flight tough, but the time change throws you off for a few days, along with the jet lag.  They both were wiped out but also excited for the new adventure.

Right from the start, the Shark management, took good care of Jimmer.  They met him at the airport and had a Chinese English speaking gentleman, “Teddy”, who came to be Al and Jimmer’s sidekick for the entire time that they were there with the Sharks.  Al said he is such a great guy who wanted to make sure that they were comfortable and well taken care of during their stay in China. He would take the time to explain so many things to Al and Jimmer about the culture and their monetary system.  They got the hang of it pretty quickly, but if it were me, I’d still be wrestling with it.   Teddy was there to “show them the ropes” of  Shanghai.   He would teach them, or make suggestions as to what they should do and what they should not do so they would not inadvertently offend the Chinese people.   For example one of the first team dinners they had, they all were expected to take a drink of Saki (Sake) to honor the team and the coaches before the start of the season.  It’s customary over there to drink and toast this or that.  The interpreter explained to Al and Jimmer that it was considered disrespectful if you didn’t participate in the drinking part. It put Jimmer, as well as Al, in an awkward position because they don’t drink at all, but yet as the new guys, they didn’t want to give the impression that they were being anti-social or disrespectful.  Jimmer explained to the interpreter beforehand that he and his father were not going to drink anything other than water or something non-alcoholic when they did the toasts.  So that’s what they did….they raised their glasses of water for their toast.   Once it was explained to them (the team) by the interpreter, they all understood.  That’s just the way it was going to be.

They had a driver that took them to Jimmer’s apartment in downtown Shanghai and would be there the whole season to get him to the games and practices on time.  At the games there is always an interpreter for the import players (2 imports for each team) because the head coach didn’t speak much English at all.  The assistant coach was American but lived in Australia so he could help with the language barrier also.  I’m sure it was very confusing at first for Jimmer but he adjusted really well.  After all, it was basketball….something that he could figure out no matter what language they were speaking.  Surprisingly enough, he said that most of his teammates spoke English.  Some of them better than others.  That was very helpful.  I’m sure that they learned some things from Jimmer and he learned some things from them as well.  But ultimately, it was the team camaraderie that they felt.  Regardless of the language, they came to feel a bond with one another.  Jimmer genuinely has fond feelings and appreciates his teammates, his coaches, the trainers, and the entire staff of the Sharks organization as they reciprocated those feelings for him.  They support and encourage one another.

Now a few words about his apartment….  I know the first article mentioned that the apartment seemed lonely and cold, devoid of the homey feel that one might like.  My first thought was what young professional athlete, who is temporarily living away from their permanent home, cares about where they are staying as long as it is relatively clean, has a kitchen, TV, and a bed?  What athlete would go out and buy homey things like colorful throw pillows and accessories to liven up a temporary place?  Only a mother would do that, and to be honest, if I was over there, then I probably would have done that.  Wouldn’t have mattered one bit to Jimmer and to most guys, but it would have mattered to me.  Us mothers are like that sometimes.  I remember when Jimmer was staying in Westchester County for the Knick’s D league.  His apartment was in a high rise building.  It was small but nice.  When Al and I went to visit the first time, and this was before Whitney got there, it was bugging me that the couch was in the wrong position in the room and so were the coffee table, rug and lamps.  He had to go out to go to practice for a few hours and when he came back, I had completely rearranged the furniture.  Even though it had a small amount of furniture there, I thought the placement of it was crucial for Jimmer’s utmost comfort and coziness.  At least it was in my mind and it was important to me that he was comfortable.  Jimmer didn’t care one way or another but graciously told me that it looked nice when he came back.  He is a really neat person so it was never messy, but now I felt that it was a little more homey for him.  So I’m sure over in China, the apartment was just fine for him and didn’t signify loneliness or anything for that matter. It’s just what they had provided for him and it was fine.  The location was great. One of the first things that I asked Jimmer to do when he got there was to give me a tour of the place by facetime.  My thoughts were that it looked very clean and shining with beautiful hardwood floors.  It had more of a modern contemporary feel to it. He had at least one flat screen TVs, (maybe two), a washer and dryer and a kitchen. He was all set.  Was it cozy looking?…probably not by most mom’s standards, but it was nice.  If he has a TV and his ipad to facetime his family, that’s all that he needs.  As I said before,  I think the writer of the article just perceived it to be lonely looking for the dramatic effect of his story.  When I saw a recent video of his apartment, he had so many colorful sneakers around that it would be hard to feel down with all of that bright neon color! Who needs throw pillows for color when you have those brightly colored sneakers?

Both Jimmer and Al have told me of the beauty of the city of Shanghai.  There are flowers everywhere, interesting statues and art sculptures, beautiful high rise buildings that light up the sky with color at night, there is a Disney World amusement park, there are stores and malls so big that Al got lost in a few, there are street vendors eager to barter with you.  So many things to see and experience. So much history.   The first article mentioned the smog and bad air over in China.  Yes there are times that people choose to wear masks to shield themselves from an especially bad day, but as the man said in the blog, parts of Utah, where the man used to live, and many other cities have bad smoggy air sometimes too, so you can’t define a city with just that.  I have experienced it myself in Utah.  It’s what they call Inversion. It would be nice to be able to wave a magic wand and bring in clean air but with large cities or areas with so many factories and traffic, it’s hard to keep it under control.  I know the writer of the first article was going for the gritty feel of the city of Shanghai and maybe it added to the dramatic theme of his story, but it wasn’t really an issue for Al or for Jimmer.

I remember Whitney saying that she felt so safe over there.  It’s probably because they have guards to monitor the streets for any signs of trouble.  Even at the games they have guards to keep order if it is needed.  I was worried that Al was going to be taken away if he didn’t stop yelling so much at the refs.  Ha!  I think they gave him a pass because he was Jimmer’s father.   It’s a Communist country and it’s something that you have to always keep in mind.  They do some things differently than we do here in the USA.

I think when Al went over there with Jimmer the first time, he was worried about what he was going to eat. Yup he’s always worried about that.   It’s no secret that when going to a different country, you may have to adjust to their cuisine. One of the first things Al said to me when we finally talked for the first time was that the food was amazing in Shanghai.  Anything that you can get over here in the USA, you can get over there. There is a McDonald’s, a Burger King, a Kentucky Fried Chicken, a Wendy’s, lots of pizza places, seafood places. steak places, dessert places, fine dining places etc. etc. Anything that you want to eat, you can get….even great ice cream places.  I know that because I saw pictures of Jimmer and Whitney’s little girl with chocolate ice cream on her face.    He tries to eat healthy things to stay in shape so maybe it’s hard to decide what to eat sometimes, but the choices are certainly there. Are there places in China where the food is less desirable and inferior than in Shanghai?  Absolutely.  The team travels to some rural areas during the season that can’t provide all of the food options of Shanghai, but they plan for that and bring food for the team or the guys can bring their own snacks. There is sometimes the threat of food poisoning for the team members, or not being able to tolerate certain foods that they are not used to, so they have to be careful of that.  As a matter of fact, one of the imports did suffer from a bout of food poisoning and had to sit out a game.  But that’s also true for athletes or anyone in the USA…. or any country for that matter.

The article mentioned something about Jimmer just watched TV or movies in his downtime, and that’s probably true when he was alone, but when someone is over there with him, he ventures out on the streets and takes advantage of all there is to see. I think most people are like that.  It’s much more fun to have someone to share those things with than doing it on your own.  He goes out to the occasional get together or dinner with the coaches and team.  He goes out to shop when he wants or needs to go to a store.  When you’ve seen just about everything that there is to see in your area, what more can you do by yourself?  Besides Jimmer has time restraints everyday because everything is centered around practices, shoot arounds, travel and games. Sometimes he has to do endorsement obligations that can take up quite a bit of time.  That’s his job.  The time that he does have off, which is not much, he probably likes to stay put and relax from the exhaustion of a very busy schedule. I know one thing that he enjoys every day and does it as many times as he can in a day….. and that is Facetime with his family.  Thank heavens for modern technology.  It makes being away from your family a little more tolerable for the many people that have jobs far away from them.

I mentioned this before on Facebook but I’ll say it again, one thing I disagreed with wholeheartedly in the article is the statement that the writer made about Jimmer having no rhythm and not being about to dance.  What?!!!  Jimmer is known for being a terrific dancer.  That assessment most likely comes from a person that can’t dance at all so it’s hard to pick out a good dancer if you have no dancing skills of your own.  It has been my opinion over the years that most athletes can dance.  They are born with good hand/eye coordination and can find that rhythm when they hear a beat.  I have 3 brothers that were all good athletes and everyone of them can dance really well.  So does my other son and daughter…both good athletes.  Of course there are always exceptions to the rule but generally, athletes can dance.  So I really took offense to that comment.  It made him sound like he was awkward on the dance floor and nothing can be further from the truth.  The video that the guy put up of Jimmer and the wedding crew was a fun day for them.  Any confusion of the dance moves was because they put that dance together pretty quickly and had to perform under pressure for the bride and wedding guests.  Ha Ha.   It was fun to watch.

The CBA….I know that people say that the Chinese basketball league is an inferior league and it’s not as good as the NBA or the Euro-league and that’s probably true about the NBA,  but the Euro league, that’s just a matter of opinion.  Yes the NBA has the top basketball players in the world but there are some players that have been cut from the NBA, gone over to the CBA, and then work their way back to the NBA. There are a couple of Chinese players that played in the NBA for a few seasons but wanted to go back to play in their homeland. One example is a player named Yi Jianlian, who played for the Dallas Mavericks for a time. The competition in China can be a little weaker sometimes, depending on the team.  Some of the well known players that have played there or are still playing there, are Marshon Brooks, Carlos Boozer, JJ Hickson, Jason Thompson, Josh Smith, Gilbert Arenas, JR Smith, Metta World Peace, Tracey McGrady, Pooh Jeter, Chris Anderson (Birdman), Shavlik Randolph, Stephon Marbury of course, and many more. Some came over for a short time and went back to the NBA and some left basketball altogether but China was their choice of where to play, so it can’t be that bad.  Although the teams can only have 2 imports on a team, some of the Chinese players are very skilled, scrappy and can shoot the lights out!  It all depends on the team of course (that’s also true in the NBA) but to Jimmer, every game is a battle.  Because of his scoring abilities, he has become a target no matter where he plays.  To those who have said, oh of course he can score there, the competition is weak, I would challenge them to spend one game in Jimmer’s sneakers and see what it is like.  He is grabbed, scratched, tripped, elbowed, pushed, slapped and yes even head butted.  After some of the games he is sore and beat up. This season he came home with a black eye from an over zealous defender. They rotate fresh defensive players on him throughout a game in which their only assignment is to just stop Jimmer, never mind the ball, just stop him!  I don’t know how he can stand a guy two inches from his face all of the time and constantly touching him.  I guess he is used to it. The reffing is less than perfect (just ask my husband who has been there in person) so they let a lot of that kind of fouling happen for the most part.  Every once in awhile they will call a good game but seems like those games are few and far between.  I won’t say too much about that but there are articles written about the reffing in China and the CBA in general.  As I think back, I don’t even remember Jimmer being roughed up that bad in the NBA.  Almost every game is tough for him and I am still in awe of what he can do in spite of all of that.  But still he is enjoying it.  It’s a challenge and Jimmer always did love a challenge.  He is a starter and he plays the majority of the game. The worry that he is going to be taken out if he makes one mistake is gone.  The coach recognizes that sometimes he needs time to get warmed up and play through mistakes (a luxury he didn’t have in the NBA)….but when he catches that rhythm, watch out.  People sometimes think that Jimmer is just a shooter.  That was the misconception that the coaches had in the NBA.  They stuck him in the corner waiting for the ball that never came.  No doubt that he has the 3 point shooting talent, but I always say to people that he’s not just a shooter, he is a scorer, plain and simple. He’s been that type of player since he was a little boy.  He has a variety of shots.  He CAN create his own shot but I have heard so many announcers say that he can not.  Wow they haven’t really watched Jimmer if they say that.  That’s why he is so hard to stop.  If his 3 point shot is not working in some games, he tries something different.  He’ll take it in and score that way.  He is a great passer and sees the floor really well.  He is quicker and a lot stronger than people think.  You have to have a certain amount of strength and quickness to score like that.  So not only do the coaches and players in Shanghai have confidence in him, but he has gotten his own confidence back.  As a very astute and fair announcer said once when Jimmer was in the NBA, the talent that was on display at BYU has not gone away, it’s still there, but he hasn’t found the right situation yet where he can showcase that talent.  That was the frustration for all of us in the NBA.  That’s why going to China was a good move for him.  As the article said, he’s gotten his swagger back.  I could go on and on with this subject and my feelings, but I won’t.  I will move on.

I want to say something about the Chinese people.  Both Al and Jimmer have mentioned to me that they are the kindest, most loving, giving people that you would ever want to meet.  Very hard working.  He said that they have a sweet spirit about them… and they love their basketball.   Al has so many stories of encounters he has had with the Chinese people.  They are more than willing to help you if you just ask (and if they speak English.) He ventured out every day to experience some of the local color.  Sometimes he went with Jimmer if he had some free time, but mostly on his own. The population, of course, is mind blowing in Shanghai…about 24 million people, almost 3 times the population of NYC.  Some days are wall to wall people. Lots of activity and lots to see and do.   Sometimes Al got lost and sometimes he maneuvered himself around Shanghai pretty good.   He told me that because of Jimmer’s notoriety over there and the fact that Al’s face was frequently shown on TV during his games, that some people started to recognize him on the streets and asked for pictures with him.  He once walked by a group of armed guards that must have watched the games because they started talking back and forth with each other and as Al looked back, one of them was going through the motion of shooting a basketball.  They laughed as Al smiled and nodded yes at them.

My intention was not to slam the first article from the Deseret News about Jimmer’s life in China.  In fact, the journalist is a very good writer and the article was well written.  He spent alot of time researching it. He talked for hours with Al, Tj and his sister Lindsay on the phone. He flew over to Shanghai to spend some time with Jimmer.  If you scroll down to the end of his article, you will see a video in which he did a great job describing his findings of Jimmer’s life in China.  However, I just wanted to counteract any feelings that one might have had after reading it and coming away with the conclusion that Jimmer’s experience over there is not a good one.  On the contrary, it has been amazing.  Let’s just say that he is as happy as one can be living over there without his family by his side the majority of the time.  That’s probably where the journalist’s perceived melancholy feelings from Jimmer may have come from.  As Whitney said, he is pretty level headed and doesn’t get too high or too low.  He is a go with the flow type person.  To go back, one of the inaccurate comments in the article was that his brother TJ said that Jimmer became extremely depressed when he was with the Sacramento Kings.  Tj told me that he never used those words but rather he said that he was having a tough time.  When Jimmer heard that he quickly said that he wasn’t depressed and that was too strong a word, but frustrated was the correct word for the situation at the time. Again I guess for the writer, the word depressed was more dramatic. He was going through alot of adjustments.  I was there for his first year in the NBA so I was sharing in that frustration, as was all of our family. Did he get on his knees for strength and guidance as it was written in the article? I didn’t see that myself like Tj did, but I would say, knowing Jimmer, that it was absolutely true.  Jimmer is such a positive thinking person that he doesn’t dwell on things too much and moves forward.  Tj always told him that you have to have a “short memory” in sports. It’s a term used that means that you can’t stop to think about a mistake that you may have made on the court because otherwise if you do, you will loose your focus and it will take you mentally out of the game.  That term can also be used in life in general.  Have a short memory and not dwell on past mistakes or even the injustices that happen.  That is good advice. I think Jimmer lives his life like that.  He could have very easily harbored resentment against the NBA, but he chose to have that short memory and look ahead at other opportunities and it landed him into another round of Jimmermania.  He is grateful to everyone of his fans in the USA and now in China.  So yes after awhile when he is in China towards the end of the season, he is ready to come back to the USA because like anyone else, you can’t be totally happy without your family by your side. This is his job and it is a way to give his family a good life.  It’s also doing what he loves. He is so appreciative for the fans that he has, the people that he has met and the opportunities that he has been given.  I know that he has a grateful heart for his blesssings, as do we as his family.

One last thing that I really pondered a lot is when the article mentioned that this was not the way that it was suppose to happen. In other words, he was saying that Jimmer’s dream was that he was suppose to be successful and playing in the NBA and he wasn’t suppose to be playing in China.  My thoughts are maybe this is EXACTLY the way that it was suppose to happen. Sometimes life throws you a curve ball, as they say, but sometimes it’s just the right pitch.  Life is not only about basketball. It’s about learning, and growing, and experiencing all kinds of things in our journey.  If he didn’t go to China, he would have not met all of the people that he has met. He would have not experienced another culture and learned about life in a country different than our own.  He would not have gotten the opportunities that were made available to him and will be in the future if he stayed sitting on the bench in the NBA.  He belongs to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  Who knows if he has influenced someone there in a largely non-Christian country to investigate what he believes.  Maybe there is a reason why he is there other than to play basketball.  Those are questions many people have thought about.  He has one more year under contract with the Shanghai Sharks.  After that who knows what will happen.  Maybe he will again play in the NBA and maybe he won’t, but make no mistake about it, Jimmer has alot of basketball left to be played and wherever he goes, he will bring with him the light that he has, a positive attitude, and a work ethic that any team would want.  Time will tell.

I have posted some pictures and a video to show you some of the experiences that he has had in China over the past two years.  The final video was last year when he won the MVP trophy.  What’s not to love over there?  The first 4 pictures were taken as he arrived back in China for the second season.  How great for a mother’s heart to see that.  Thank you to the Shanghai people.  Right now Jimmer is home in Colorado with his wife and his daughter (and their great dog George)….another perk of China basketball is that it’s a short season so it means more family time for him.

Take care everyone and thanks for stopping by.

Until next time,

Kay

china welcome 1china welcome 2china welcome 3china welcome 4

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wes wit jimmer at bund

At a place called “THE BUND”.  Beautifully colored buildings to see.

wes wit at bund

wes 36

Wesley was the star on the streets.

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jimmer in China

got her Disney ears in Shanghai.

Jimmer giving talk in China

accepting an award

colorful scarves

Beautiful silk scarves that Al brought home for me.

jimmer and roger federer

Got to meet his all time favorite professional tennis players, Roger Federer, who had a tournament over there in China. He said he was a really nice guy. Liked him alot.

china picture

china pics2

memories of a lifetime

pink building

great wall

Great Wall of China in Bejiing…about 2 hours away from Shanghai.

china picture 2

china photographer

Wonderful lady who was a photographer for the team.  Al said she is in her 80s.

Another NBA presence in our house…

When Jimmer was a Senior at BYU and just getting started with basketball season, it was customary for the team to play a game at the Seniors’ hometowns….or at least close to it.  Many of the guys are from Utah, or somewhere in the West, so it’s not much of a problem to schedule their games. Jimmer’s situation was different, he was from NY.  After much deliberation and planning, it was going to happen.  A D1 college game was coming to Glens Falls, NY.  I’m not going to talk about all that happened during that game on this post, but I’ll just say it was a perfect, magical night for us all.  BYU won the game against UVM.  It was a memory we will never forget.

Something interesting happened at our house the day of the game.  I was sitting on the couch when I heard a knock on the door.  As I looked out the window, I saw a tall middle aged man.  I didn’t recognize him but I noticed he was holding something in his hand.  As I cracked opened the door (my husband was home so it was ok), the stranger asked me if Jimmer was home.  Obviously he knew that Jimmer was in town for the game and assumed he would be staying here with us at home.  Actually Jimmer had to stay with the team at the Queensbury Hotel so he wasn’t here at the time.

“Well I wanted to give him these pictures,” said the man.  As he showed me the pictures, I recognized that they were taken in our house.  He told me that he was one of the guys in the pictures and that he used to live in this house.  He grew up here with 2 or 3 brothers ( I can’t exactly remember how many)….very tall brothers in this little tiny house.  His name was Ray.  I don’t know what I was more surprised by…. that he lived here at all, or that those TALL people lived here.  Our house is not made for tall people.  Everyone knows that if you are tall, there are places in our house that you have to duck your head, especially upstairs.  How in heaven’s name did these very tall teenage boys manage in this house?!!!  Ray said he was 6′ 6″ tall!   I guess you make due with what you have.  Well anyways, we talked for awhile about his life here and in this neighborhood.  By then I had invited him in to look over his old homestead.  He was clearly going down nostalgia lane as he looked around.  We all can imagine how he felt being in the home where he grew up.  Lots of memories.

He then proceeded to tell me that this tall black man in the picture was a young Bob Lanier.  He was the #1 draft pick in the NBA in 1970.  He was 6’11” tall.  He was drafted by the Detroit Pistons.  At the time that this picture was taken, I’m not sure if he was already in the NBA or he was in college where he was playing for St. Bonaventure, a college near Buffalo, NY.  He actually was born in Buffalo. You can google him and read about his history and accomplishments.  Very impressive.  His shoe size alone is very impressive actually.  Size 23!!!  Of course my first question was how did he happen to have his picture taken in our house?  Unfortunately I can’t remember what he said, but I know he did mention something about basketball in Albany.  It will forever be a mystery as to why Bob Lanier was here.  The point is that he was here.  Maybe he left behind some NBA “vibes” in our house.  I noticed that Lanier’s jersey was #16.  Jimmer was #16 when he played for the Knicks D League.  I personally like the #32 better.  Ha!

Ray not only lived in this house but I also found out that he played basketball on some of the same summer teams as my husband, Al.  You can see in the picture that Ray is not much shorter than Bob Lanier.  Al said that he loved playing basketball and he was a good player himself.  If that wasn’t a coincidence enough, he dated and married a girl who went to the same college that I did.  I actually knew her.  She was a wonderful, very sweet, girl.  The sad part of this story is that he told me that she had passed away from a rare form of cancer a few years ago.  My heart sank.  As he talked about her, even though it had been awhile since she had been gone from his life, he clearly was still in a lot of emotional pain.  He lingered here in the house longer than I expected.   In retrospect, I realized that this man was here, not only because he was a Jimmer fan and wanted to do something nice for him by bringing him those pictures, but he also came back to his childhood home to soak in some memories of days gone by….a simpler time for him.  I’m sure it gave him some comfort to be here and to talk to someone that knew his wife Kathy. Ray ended up coming back one other time just to talk but we haven’t seen him since then.  My hope is that he has found solace and happiness once again in his life.

So it was quite a day that we experienced.  Bob Lanier is about 68 years old now.  Hard to believe those pictures were taken so many years ago.

So this tiny little house has a history for sure.  It may not be in the best shape, it’s weathered and warn out,  but a lot of excitement and interesting things happened here.  We’ve had people from everywhere in this house.   We’ve had the prestigious Naismith Award, Oscar Robinson Award, Wooden Award, Oscar Robinson award, AP award, the Espy award, etc., ESPN crews, BYU media crews, NYC crews, newspaper people, whole basketball teams from both my sons playing years, people from other states stopping by to see where Jimmer grew up, my daughter’s accolades from school, dancing and winning Miss NY Teen USA….the house actually looks like a small museum (some people have said), but to me the best thing that ever happened in this house is that all 3 of my children were born and grew up here.  It was full of love for each other and love for God, much excitement, good friends, an occasional pet or two, good times, some tough times, but like every family, you wake up every morning and go to sleep at night and hope that in between, your days are filled with good health and meaningful, productive, successful experiences.  The pages of life turn very quickly, and the years fly by, but this house, such as it is, has given me a lifetime of memories….and more to come I’m sure.

Thanks for stopping by.

Until next time….see ya!

Kay

Ray and Bob Lanier in our house…the house where Ray grew up also. Yup that door is still here. They made those doors sturdy back then.

 

Yup this is our front entryway….an older version, but you can see how Bob Lanier had to duck to get out of the house.

 

 

lots of action and love in this humble little home….

The Making of Jimmer’s Commercial…

Hi everyone,

Well I hope you all saw the “Outside the Lines” segment on Jimmer.  I noticed that there is a 5 minute preview version on some of the social media sites, but that’s not the whole thing.  The finished video was a little over 20 minutes.  I know a lot of you could only find the 5 minute one but the longer version can be released 21 days after the airing of it on TV.  So I will let everyone know when that happens.

Kudos to ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” crew.  They did a fantastic job and we all loved it.  It definitely captured the very essence of Jimmer.  He’s a hard working, unassuming type kid, (well I call him a kid because I’m his mother) that loves God, loves his family, including his dog George, loves playing basketball and other sports, and loves hanging out with family and friends. Now he has another little one to hang out with….their little girl. It’s as simple as that. What you see is what you get with Jimmer.  He’s never given up on his dream of playing in the NBA (which he did) and to continue to play professional basketball.  There are two personality traits that Jimmer has which have gotten him to where he is, and it’s persistence and perseverance. His wife might call it stubbornness.  He went through more than anyone knows during those first few years in the NBA, never once complaining to any of us, but kept his head up, worked hard and kept positive.  He has never doubted his abilities.  I know that he must have felt great frustration and disappointment…. but he kept going.  Now he has captured a whole new HUGE audience that appreciates his talent for basketball and loves him for who he is….and he loves them in return.   So what I would say to anyone that is getting close to their dreams of (whatever), and you feel like giving up….DON’T!!!… because you never know what is on the other side of that frustration.

So to finish up Jimmer’s experience in China for this year, I would like to talk about the making of the commercial that he did for the sporting good company called 361.  My husband happened to be there watching the whole process so I can post some of the pictures and video that he took. Kind of blurry but, hey, he had just graduated from a flip phone to a smart phone and it was all new to him…. so I’ll cut him some slack.  You did good Al.

He said they were there in a cold gym for about 9 hours.  You can see by the pictures that no one took their heavy coats off except for Jimmer when they had to do a scene.  They were very conscious of making sure Jimmer was warm and comfortable by putting a heater by him when he sat down and made sure he had a coat to wear at all times.   Al also said that they had a lot of good food for them to eat during their breaks so they certainly didn’t go hungry.  Very kind crew they were.

As I said last time when I talked about filming here at our home, it takes so much time for just a few seconds of footage, and it was the same here.  They worked very hard all day and I think the actual commercial is about 15 seconds long…if that.  Al said it was really interesting to see how it was made though.  There were about 50-75 people there, some busy with their specific jobs and some just watching. At the end you will see a bunch of sparkling confetti blowing up behind Jimmer.   There was one guy that had that job.  He had a PVC pipe and filled it full of the confetti.  Obviously he put something in the pipe that would shoot it out behind Jimmer like a small cannon to disperse it throughout the air.

Also what I thought was interesting was that they had a “stand in” for Jimmer so that he wouldn’t have to stand all day while they got the right camera angles and lighting and whatever.  They actually hired someone to do that!!!…and I think they paid him pretty good money for it.  Al got a chance to talk to the guy while he wasn’t busy being the stand in.  He said he was from Norway or Sweden or some place like that.  He was going to school over there in China and he would pick up odd jobs to make some money.  He was an interesting guy with yet another accent (this time Norwegian) in the mix.  They wanted someone of similar height, build and coloring so they could get everything right concerning Jimmer’s scenes.  I’ll post a picture of him.  Nice, happy guy Al said.

I got a kick out of how they all scooted across the room together to film Jimmer as he was dribbling the ball.  It was soon after Jimmer had slightly injured his foot and it must have been a little tender for him to do those moves, but he was a trooper. It got done.  It was an interesting and fun day for Al and Jimmer….but also a tiring one.  It takes a lot of patience and a lot of waiting around,  but it’s worth it in the end.  They have a great commercial out now and it is playing over in China for 361.

A lot of people have asked about Jimmer’s signature shoe and when it’s coming out.  He says that it won’t be out until next season and they are trying for it to be available in the USA somewhere but not at all sure about that.  We will let everyone know when we find out.  Maybe they will be available for Christmas this year.  That would be nice.

Ok that’s it for today….thanks for stopping by.  I’ll post some pictures, some video and the completed commercial at the bottom.  Those of you that saw the 20 minute version of ‘Outside the Lines” yesterday saw the commercial already.  These “behind the scenes” videos below show you that everything like this on TV seems so glamorous because the final product is so polished and perfect, but the work that goes into it, and the reality of it is not quite so glamorous.  Check it out.

Until next time….see ya!

Kay

 

Interview with “Outside the Lines” team….

First of all I want to say that this is not TJ.  It’s me, his mother, writing this because Tj is in California now and taking a break from the blog.  He’s busy with various things including a screenplay that he is working on to complete.  He’s the writer of the family.  I figured why waste a good WordPress blog that is already set up.  Plus I like the name that TJ so cleverly made up….”That Bloggles my Mind.”  I will do updates on Jimmer’s career or Fredette family events but I will also do just some of my own thoughts on things.  I’m sure I will loose some readers because I’m not TJ, but maybe I’ll gain others.  So here goes…..
We had an interesting day last week. An ESPN crew came up to our house to film where Jimmer grew up AGAIN and wanted to interview his parents….well anyone who knows me, knows how that went. Actually they didn’t even ask me so I think that Jimmer may have warned them not to expect anything from me.  Good boy Jimmer.  It was all Al doing the interview and I watched. He did really well but there was a few times that I thought I was going to have to give him the hook because he was namedropping and going on alittle too much. Ha! I’m sure they will edit that stuff out. As a matter of fact, they always take hours and hours to do some footage and most of the time, you only see a few seconds of the interview… if at all. The director of all of this told me that he did a long interview with the mother of one of the athletes as she was showing him around the town that he grew up in. It took them two hours and in the end, they didn’t use any of the footage. He said he felt bad but it’s a matter of editing and the time that they are allotted. He also said he had interviewed Kevin Durant not too long ago. I’m sure it was an interesting one.
The crew went to China to follow Jimmer around for a few days and get some local color footage of where he is staying and the beautiful city of Shanghai…..to sort of get a feel of what Jimmer has experienced over there throughout the season. Of course they wanted some footage of some action on the court too. We have had a few camera crews come to this little tiny house to film and it was really quite a learning experience to those that are interested in the film industry. The last time ESPN came, during Jimmermania, they had about 7 or 8 people that worked at a feverish pace to make this house into a studio of some sort.  Each of them had their own expertise, whether it was sound, lighting, camera angles, interviewing, and so on.  Let me tell you it was no easy job transforming this house to a place that was conducive to the atmosphere they were looking for. It’s an old house that has about one or two outlets in each room. Not gonna lie, it was a little embarrassing to tell them we don’t have any more outlets to plug their things in.  Somehow they made it work and they were so nice as they did it.  One guy told me they have experienced much worse.  ha!  That made me feel a little better.  They put film on the lamp shades and changed the light bulbs and covered the windows with special tape….it’s all about lighting and sound quality.  It was very interesting. I tried to observe and be helpful when they needed it, but stay out of the way.
The crew this time was smaller with a team of 3 but one guy couldn’t make it.  They picked the same spot to interview as the last team did….right in front of the trophies that my kids have earned throughout the years.  It took them about 5 hours total… first in the house and then around the outside of the house where basketball for my children began.  I will include a few pictures of my husband, Al, outside on our deck.  The look that the cameraman was trying to create was for Al to have a pensive expression on his face as he looked at the old basketball hoop that our kids used to play on.  Sort of like he was reminiscing and thinking of days gone by and how fast it went and how fun it was to go through. Well I can tell you though that it took so long to get just the right shot that Al’s back started hurting him as he was leaning over the railing… so in actuality, the look on his face is that he was thinking when are they going to be done because my back is killing me.  Ha!  Like I said, they take a long time with all kinds of angles and footage and in the end they will use very little of it.  The camera was so close to Al’s right ear that I think you may be able to see clear out to the other side of the yard.  Anyways it was a fun experience and the guys were so nice.  I enjoyed talking with them. If it goes forward, it will be another nice plug for good ole Glens Falls, NY.
This was all done for a show called “Outside the Lines” which airs on ESPN2.  The director told me it’s suppose to be on sometime soon (I think April 2nd, ) so if you are interested, we will let everyone know when it happens….if it happens.  I hope that it does because Jimmer’s China experience is one to be shared.  Couldn’t have asked for a better season with a wonderful team and staff to share it with.  The fans were incredible and made him feel very welcome.  Can’t beat that.
Until next time…
Kay

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