‘Make memories that will last a lifetime’: Fairview’s Jaycee Aleman excited for senior seasons

Fairview’s Jaycee Aleman (1). (Bill Piper/The Cullman Tribune)

FAIRVIEW, Ala. – In this interview, I talked to Fairview senior Jaycee Aleman. Aleman plays volleyball, basketball and softball for the Aggies and she’s excited for another great year with her teammates.

“I think we did pretty good last season even though we came up short in most of our games. We were a good team. I learned to never give up no matter how many points you’re down by. The game is never on one person; we win and lose as a team. If we want a great outcome, we have to work together and play the best we can,” Aleman said. “We all have different talents that we can put together to make us be successful. We’re a close team and I think that’s really an important part of all of us coming back. We all know what we did wrong last year to make this year much better. We’re going to learn from our mistakes and push each other to be the best we can be this year.”

Fairview has a new head volleyball coach this year: Katie Ball. They played high school volleyball together and Jaycee is excited to play for a coach that she already knows and has soaked up so much from her so far.

“It’s been fun. I’m glad I get to have a coach I know and that I’m close with my senior year. She has taught us that no matter how many points you’re down by, never give up. She’s really opened our eyes at how good we can be. We know we will never be perfect, but if we do the small things right, we will be very successful this season.”

Jaycee is one of the leaders on this year’s team and she is looking to set an example for the younger players on the team. She worked on a lot during the summer as well.

“It’s important to be a leader to them because I’m the oldest and they’re looking up to me. If I do something one way, they do it that way and if I give 100%, they’ll give 100%. You want the younger girls to do it the right way all the time, so I feel that I should always set an example,” Aleman said. “We did camps and learned basic skills and it helped us a lot. We practiced every day and went over things a lot to make sure we knew it and did it the right way. We also played lot of play-day games against better teams to push us to be better.”

Jaycee talks about her goals and the team goals for this season. She also talked about what will make this team special to watch this year.

“We want to have a winning season, win county, win area, and make it to state. We really want to improve from the past and represent Fairview well. We also want to improve from our mistakes and just have fun,” she said. “What will make us special to watch this season is the bond we have together on the court.”

Fairview had another solid basketball season as they went 18-13 and finished as the area runner-up. They also clinched another spot at Sub-Regionals as well and Aleman, along with the rest of the team, learned a very important lesson from that season. They will have almost everyone coming back this year and that will help them take that next big step.

“Last season, I learned that fighting as a team instead of an individual makes the outcome of the game way better,” she said. “We have a pretty good group this year. We have two seniors, four juniors, and a freshman, Darby Nichols. We’re a small team, but I think it’s better for us this year. It means that we all have to push through and do our part on the court.”

She added,

“We’ve all been with coach Justin Billings since eighth grade, so we know his expectations. He pushes us to do our best every game and every practice. Fairview Lady Aggies basketball wouldn’t be where it’s at now without him. He expects 110% every day and that’s what we give. I think the key for our team is the bonds we have with each other and all of our experiences together. We push each other during practices and even games. Even off the court, we’re close and to me, that’s a lot. I think we have a solid group this year and I can’t wait to see the success we have this year.”

Jaycee has played with coach Billings ever since eighth grade and has soaked up as much as she can from him as possible.

“It’s been a ride. Varsity ball is a whole new atmosphere from middle school. He expects a lot from me and that’s what I give. Even on the bad days, I try to push through. We all have a pretty good bond with him and that’s an important part. Coach Billings knows what he’s doing. I’ve learned so much from him the past four years,” she said. “Not only does he push us to be better players, he also teaches us to be better people and students. He wants us to be successful in the season, but he also pushes us to be successful out of it. I’m glad I’ll start and finish my senior season with a pretty great coach.”

Jaycee has taken away so much from the upperclassmen before her and has set some goals for herself and the team this season.

“They have taught me a lot. They taught me to be a better teammate and to always have each other’s back, no matter what. Never blame just one person. If we failed, we failed as a team. Be better friends off the court and we have to stick up for each other. Never let outsiders bring our team down. Katie Ball was one of my teammates, along with Payton Golden, Daisy Manasco, Maddie Yeager, and Molly McKelvy. They all wanted to be successful and pushed us to be successful. I was scared to play with them on the varsity level, but they helped me fit in and taught me everything I needed to know. They played a huge part in that. They were amazing teammates and I’m glad I got to play with them for a couple of years.”

She added,

“We plan on making it to the county championship, win county, win area, and make it to Birmingham. It’s “all gas, no brakes” this season. They are all achievable, but we have to work hard and be locked in every game and every practice. Our team’s small, but it’s possible. Everyone likes winning and that’s a big part of it, but a big goal for me this season is to come closer together and make memories that will last a lifetime.”

Fairview had a very young team last year in softball and had some growing pains, but the future’s definitely bright for them. Aleman has been blessed to play with a great group of girls these past few years.

“I’ve always played in t-ball and in youth, so getting to play with the older girls on varsity was fun. I’ve always grown up playing ball with my older sister Kyleigh and I’m glad I got to play on the same team with her last year. She has always pushed me to do my best, even when I was struggling. She mostly taught me everything I know, and she still does to this day. She and her friends (Deavan Fulmer, Kloie Watson) have always been there for me and helped me with whatever I’ve needed help with. They made me love softball more and more. I also played softball with Katie Ball, and she is a big part of where I’m at today. They were all amazing role models for me, and I couldn’t be more thankful that I got to play with each and every one of them.”

Jaycee has played for coach Annie King for a few years and has learned so much from her so far.

“I’ve learned so many things from her on and off the field. Her love for the game is big. She’s not just a coach to me; she means way more than that. She’s one of the coaches that has pushed me to be where I am at today. She always has my back, no matter what it is, and I can always count on her for anything. She puts a lot of time into our softball program to make sure we have the best season. She works hard to get us where we need to be and teaches us new things. Although we work hard in practice to get better, she makes sure that it’s fun too. Win or lose, she never gives up on us, but still pushes us every day to work harder and get better. I’m glad I have gotten to both start varsity softball and finish my last year with an amazing softball coach like her.”

Jaycee has taught the younger players so much on and off the field and has become a role model for them.

“Being a senior means playing a big role as a leader by not only talking the talk but walking the walk daily on and off the field. I try my best to teach and help the younger girls to increase their skill level and understanding of the game. I make sure they know what to do, how to do it right, and show them that even on bad days, they’ll get through it and let them know that’s what I do. I love being their example and person to look up to and hope that I can always be that positive, determined, and optimistic athlete that they can aspire to be. Finally, as a senior role model, I can only hope to inspire my younger teammates to love the game as much as I do.”

Jaycee worked on a lot during the summer and learned a new thing as well. She has some big goals set for herself and the team as well.

“I went to several camps to improve my skill level and learn more about the game. I’ve been working on everything and hopefully, getting better and better each and every day. Coach King is teaching me how to slap bunt, and it’s hard, but I’m going to keep trying until I master it. I like to learn new things and accomplish them,” she said. “My goal this year is to make a positive impact on the younger girls and help them improve. I want to impress on them that if they want something bad enough, they can get it with extra practice and dedication. I’m here to win and have fun playing the sport I love. Team goals are to win, make it past area, and just have fun on and off the field. I plan on making this year the best one for Fairview softball.”

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