Confessions of a Teenage Go-Getter - an Interview with Bri Frongillo
Basketball - one word that means literally everything to my younger sister, Bri. A sport that she eats, sleeps, and breathes, and has since she was around six-years-old. As a sister of a badass baller (she'd hate me for using those words), I couldn't be more proud to share the story of a 16-year-old girl who has shaken all of Central MA and beyond to their core with her fierce drive and love for the game.
And as residents of one of the smallest towns in America, you could say I'm basically related to a celebrity. As a child, it was clear she was gifted right from the start. But when she started on the varsity team as an 8th grader and reached 1,000 points as a sophomore, it was clear she was a force to be reckoned with.
While I was never much of an athlete myself, many have questioned if I had any role in nurturing Bri's superb athletic abilities. And while I'd love to take any ounce of credit, this simply is far from the truth - but that doesn't mean I haven't been a super-fan ever since her first bounce of a ball. Bri - I'm so proud of the leader you are, the determination and drive you possess, and everything you embody and can't wait to see where life takes you!
Tell us a little about yourself
I am currently a junior at Hopedale High School and have played on the varsity team since 8th grade. I’ve been playing basketball since I was around 5 or 6 years old and started playing AAU basketball when I was in 4th grade. I play for the Bay State Jaguars AAU program and have played for them for 4 years now and I am committed to Bryant University to play division 1 basketball.
Have you always been passionate about basketball? Who encouraged you to try out this sport?
I have always been pretty passionate about basketball. My parents got me involved in sports at an early age and I ended up gravitating more towards basketball than the other sports. My dad definitely encouraged me to play sports, especially softball and basketball, and through that I just kind of found this love for the game.
What is your ultimate goal/dream regarding basketball? Do you want to pursue this as a career?
A goal of mine that I have had since I was little is to play division 1 basketball which I am fortunate enough to actually be able to do. An ultimate dream of mine would obviously be to play professional basketball and eventually I would even love to get involved in coaching.
How did it feel becoming a captain of your high school basketball team at such a young age? How do you try to be a leader?
I was humbled to know that, even as an underclassmen, people saw me as a leader of the team. I try to be a leader by not only encouraging my teammates and supporting them, but also by giving them instruction as well and being someone that they can look to when they aren’t sure what to do. As a leader, I also think it’s important to be accountable and take responsibility for things and to be confident in what you do so that is something I strive to do as well.
How does it feel to be a role model for people? (athletes and non-athletes)
Being a role model is kind of a strange thing. It’s weird to know that you’re someone people look up to but at the same time it’s very flattering. You have a responsibility as a role model and so that can sometimes be overwhelming, especially because people have expectations of you and you don’t want to let them down, but I think it’s mostly a rewarding feeling knowing that you’re someone people admire.
What do you think has been a main factor in getting you to where you are today?
I think one of the main factors in getting me to where I am today is this resilience and “never quit” attitude that I think I've gotten from my dad. Adversity is inevitable, no matter what path you pursue in life, and so being able to take those traits that my dad demonstrates so often has really helped me to overcome whatever obstacles I’ve faced thus far.
Who inspires you?
There are a lot of people that inspire me but I think someone that I really admire the most is Tom Brady. I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to watch Tom Brady play for my entire life and I’ve always been so amazed at the way he approaches being an athlete and how serious he takes it. I think he’s one of the most mentally tough people I’ve ever seen and I think it’s really inspiring to see him succeed year after year despite continually being doubted.
What is your favorite part about the game?
My favorite part about the game is just being able to compete. I am a very competitive person so I think that just being able to go out everyday and compete with people playing the game that I love is so rewarding.
What is one word that describes your playing style?
I think one word that could describe my playing style is shifty. Ball handling is one of my greatest strengths, so I think that when you watch me play you can see that I am a pretty shifty player and am able to move people with my skills to create opportunities for myself and my teammates.
What does your personal health/fitness routine look like? Is this important as a basketball player?
I can’t really say that I have a “routine” when it comes to health and fitness but I am very serious about fueling my body the right way and eating healthy, nutritious foods. As far as fitness goes I workout everyday playing basketball and try to do weight training at least 3-4 times a week.
Have you had to make a lot of sacrifices to get to the caliber of a player you are currently?
No matter what you’re passionate about I think there are always sacrifices you have to make if it something you really want to pursue. As a serious basketball player I have definitely had to make sacrifices, mainly when it comes to free time. I want to be the best that I can be, which requires a lot of commitment, so it’s a lot harder to find time to hang out with friends and do other things I enjoy. I’ve also had to make a lot of sacrifices when it comes to food. For instance, if I want to perform at my best and compete with the best, I have to take care of my body which means eating mostly healthy foods and not snacking on junk all the time.
What is one piece of advice you would give to people trying to pursue their passion?
One piece of advice that I would give to people trying to pursue their passion is that failure is a part of the process. No one ever woke up and was instantly great at whatever it is they want to do. I think a lot of times people get discouraged by their failures and think that whatever it is they are passionate about may not actually be right for them, but they don’t realize that it is our failures that help us learn and grow.
I think a lot of people struggle with this fear of failure and what they fail to realize is that, by not even attempting to pursue their passion because they are insecure or they feel they are inadequate, they have failed before they have even started. I think it’s important to understand that we find success in our failures and that they are necessary to our growth.