‘Play with every piece of your heart’: Kaitlyn Benson looks back on her Aggie years

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Fairview’s Kaitlyn Benson. (Martha Needham/The Cullman Tribune)

FAIRVIEW, Ala. — In this interview, I talked to Fairview softball player Kaitlyn Benson. Kaitlyn made a lot of special memories in her Aggie years, both on and off the field.

“I have so many great memories playing softball. I have always enjoyed the times we spent bonding as a team. I have made friendships that will last me beyond high school,” Benson said. “A moment playing softball that I will never forget is when I hit my first home run because that feeling was so rewarding. I remember head coach Annie King giving me a high five as I rounded third base and telling me it was about time. Senior Night was also a great memory because so much effort was put into it, and it was an emotional night for all of us. The days where we had to fix a wet field to be able to play was something we always had a good time with also.”

She added,

“High school is just a different experience within itself. I moved to Fairview from Parkside my ninth-grade year was very hard at first, but eventually, I made new friends and enjoyed it. My senior year was the most memorable for me. The record football season we had was something cool to remember for my senior year. Homecoming week was the best week of the whole year. Being a senior, we had lots of special events and made memories I’ll never forget.”

Kaitlyn played for Head Coach Annie King for five years and learned so many great things from her.

“Coach King took over my eighth-grade year as our new head coach and I had no clue what to expect. It didn’t take long to get to know her and adjust to the changes,” Benson said. “She was very knowledgeable about the game and had so much to teach us. She always made it clear that she cared about us beyond softball and was a person I could trust, not only as a coach, but as someone I could talk to. I remember her always saying she wanted us to grow and thrive playing softball, but also teach us how to grow up and be successful women and one day, mothers.”

Benson added,

“Whenever I would sign out during softball season, I would go down to the gym, sit with her, and talk about what we were going to do at practice or about the upcoming game that afternoon. I learned so much about softball as well as just fundamental skills. I appreciate all of the time she took with me individually when I was struggling with something. There were many times I was frustrated over something that happened in a game or at practice, but she took the time to sit me down, boost my confidence, and put in extra work to fix it.”

Kaitlyn learned a lot during her time at Fairview and feels very blessed to be an Aggie.

“I feel like my time at Fairview gave me some life lessons. I have been taught leadership by being active in softball and school-related clubs. It also taught me how to coexist with others and always be a friend to someone who needs it because you never know what they’re going through,” Benson said. “Fairview is a very small town out in the country and that gives everyone the chance to know everyone, and we learn to love and take care of our people no matter what. Fairview will forever be a special part of my life and a special place in my heart.”

She added,

“Fairview’s like a family. I have heard people often say, ‘our Fairview family’, or, ‘Fairview is family.’ My teachers always showed me love and compassion. They cared for me and did so many things for me past just teaching me during a given period. They wanted to truly see us be successful in life and to me, that meant so much.”

Kaitlyn will deeply miss being at Fairview next year and will also miss being a leader to the younger players.

“I will truly miss all of my teachers that helped me and cared so much for me. Sitting at the football, basketball, and softball games is going to bring back some memories and be sad, but I’m excited for the future,” Benson said. “I will miss all of the activities we did as a school and a class and mostly friends that I won’t see as often or some I may not see any more. Not being able to play softball anymore is the thing that I will miss the most. Being a leader for this team was great. I have always tried to be a leader and set an example, but with this group of girls, it was so easy. They were determined, driven, and always looking for a way to get better or help out. I believe they can be very successful in the future. One thing that I taught them was to never give up and push through the cold and hot practices. I always wanted to work hard and give it 110% as my dad would say, because I expected the same effort from everyone else. I hope the younger girls push themselves to their full potential.”

“My message to them on Senior Night and read them at our area tournament was to leave everything on the field and play with every piece of your heart because time flies faster than you think, and it wasn’t long until they would be standing in my shoes. One day, this game wouldn’t be their whole life, so don’t ever take it for granted because when that final game comes, you want to make sure you wouldn’t change a thing.”

Kaitlyn gave some advice to the students that will be starting high school next month.

“Starting high school may be scary to you because it was for me, but soon that will go away and you won’t remember what you were even scared about,” Benson said. “These next four years will fly by and you will be a senior sitting in the chairs at graduation wondering where it all went. I think it helps not to care about what others think or changing anything about yourself to fit in. Do all of the extra things. Get involved in some type of club or extracurricular activity. Do not be afraid or scared; just enjoy it.”

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