So much happens over the course of one year that it has become difficult to remember and reflect. It blows my mind that 2018 was our fourth season of UnFettered Athletics Flag Football, and that just a year ago was our first season of UFA Basketball.
The first time is always special and memorable for various reasons. The year before, Fieldhouse USA reached out to us about bringing our basketball teams to play with them. Now we were embarking on our own league and although we had been doing it in football for three years, there were plenty of logistics to be worked out and questions to be answered.
We’ve been blessed to have the relationship we have with Heartland Christian School and be able to use their facilities. We put in hours and days of work cleaning, painting, and preparing the gym floor to be game ready. We knew, obviously that our league was not “established” like others in town, but we also knew that our organization, our brand, and our mission was established. We knew we had a lot of families that loved and supported what we do, and that they knew our hearts and work ethic, and that we were in a position to provide an experience with youth basketball that no one else was providing.
Our first season we had 70 boys on 12 teams. We answered the questions, and families had awesome experiences and many got to know UFA on a more personal and intimate level. We had our challenges, but we met them head on and had a fantastic season. One in particular was when our initial referee had to step away. We were left high and dry without a referee, but we were blessed with the most incredible replacement, Bella Dingus. She did a fantastic job and was better than any other basketball referee we have ever seen, and many say better than any referee they’ve seen in tournament play or at the high school level. She continued on to referee football and is back again this season.
We were also able to introduce Hustler Cheer. We have an awesome Cheer Coach in Coach Kuhl, and are able to offer a recreational cheer experience for young girls and families. It was so much fun to see them cheering week to week and to take them on the road with us to tournaments. Our 2018 basketball season was indeed memorable and groundbreaking.
Our players grew much on and off the court. They learned a ton and our games were fun and competitive. We also finished the season with an in house double elimination tournament for our 4th-6th grade teams. It was a perfect season for UnFettered Athletics and we were incredibly blessed and humbled to be able to do it.
We followed up the basketball season with our Heart of a Hustler service project and had over 80 volunteers at New Visions Homeless Center. We love that UFA Families, new and old, come out and support this part of our mission. It is great to have a youth sports organization that is about so much more than what happens on the field. This is a great experience for our youth and families to give back to the community and learn about service to others in need. We give huge thank yous to all of those who participated. And, we are working on something even bigger and better this year.
Our baseball season also started earlier than ever as we were able to offer winter practices for pitchers and catchers. This helped a number of players improve greatly and it is wonderful to be able to offer families more opportunities like this. We are excited to continue to grow and improve on this experience. Although we don’t have quite enough players for our own baseball league yet, we did increase from 6 teams to 8 teams in 2018 and had a ton of fun running around to games all over town and coaching all levels from tee ball to 14U. We also, couldn’t have done it without our awesome assistant coaches.
We finished the baseball season off by having more than 220 guests attend the Omaha Storm Chasers game with us. This is one of our favorite events of the year as the Hustlers get to take the field with the pros and we always have one brand new family who is experiencing UFA for the first time. We barely were able to keep that streak intact, but someone came through at the last minute, and also went on to have an awesome football season.
We had another successful year in football with 110 kids on 15 teams. The weather got cold, but we had much fewer rainouts and postponements than the year before. Our UnAthletics event was bigger and better than ever and featured an incredible halftime show by Jaguar James, guests appearances by the Omaha Stockmen, tons of great raffles, and a very cold dunk tank for Mrs. Fetter.
2018 was truly a banner year for UnFettered Athletics and we are riding that momentum into 2019. Our basketball season is going great as we have more kids and teams than ever before and have expanded into the middle school level. We also have all kinds of new things planned as we continue to Hustle to offer the best youth sports experience available and to use youth sports to change the world.
We are incredibly blessed to be able to offer what we do. We are blessed to be able to work with groups like Heartland Christian School, Lighthouse Temple, and Crossroads Church. We are blessed to have the wonderful families who participate. We are blessed to have the support of so many great assistant coaches, both rookies and veterans. We love what we do, but more so, we love who we do it with. With you, in 2019, we will continue to change the world by using youth sports to positively influence the lives of children and families in our community.
Mission. Vision. Heart.