West Lafayette, IN –
The ingredients are simple: strawberries, sugar, pectin. But what is created every year by the West Lafayette girls basketball team is so much more than a jar of jam. For the last 8 years, head coach Jane Schott has held a fundraiser for the girls basketball team by selling homemade jam to go along with rolls they also make themselves. This helps with costs of new equipment and gear for the girls, and connects the community along the way.
The team doesn’t just pop over to the local Walmart to buy fruit shipped in from who-knows-where. Besides being bad for the environment, that wouldn’t help out anyone in the community of West Lafayette. Instead, they partner with local farmer Anne Brummet to come out to her farm (Annie’s Orchard) and pick the strawberries themselves. At least, if that year’s strawberry crop is a good one. One year, it was peaches and a few years back it was honey butter, but every year the girls from West Lafayette basketball use local ingredients to help pay for uniforms.
Last year, due to pandemic restrictions, the girls team couldn’t gather to make jam. Instead, they had to sell hand sanitizer. Suffice to say, they only raised about half of what they usually do, but it did offer a lesson in perseverance: “It’s been a tough year but we keep going,” Coach Schott said to the Journal & Courier last Thursday, “We keep going.”
That’s what it’s like, being an Indiana fruit farmer, according to Brummet.”There have been a lot of bumps in the road,” she said, adding “It’s very hard physical labor, which I do like.” Some years are great, and some are not, but for nearly 35 years Anne and her husband have worked the land and raised three children. “Anything can and has happened out here. I tell people I’m sort of like an ant,” she said to the Lafayette Leader in 2018. “You know when you’re a kid you break down their sandy little nest, but it doesn’t faze them. They just go back and start rebuilding.”
Those interested to try this year’s jam will need to wait until October when the start-of-season fundraiser begins. Until then, you can follow them on Twitter @WL_girlsbball. We will definitely be checking back to see how things go for the Red Devils of West Lafayette girls basketball this year.
So the next time you may have a desire to grumble about the next generation, and how they don’t know what from where, just think of this girls basketball team from West Lafayette, Indiana who so cared for their community that they would spend a beautiful June morning making jam from fruit they harvested themselves, and say instead: “Well, isn’t that nice?”