Wednesday, December 5, 2018
Greencastle's Jalyn Duff helped the Tiger Cubs to win volleyball sectional titles the past two years.
Banner Graphic/JOEY BENNETT

Jalyn Duff is a senior at Greencastle and participates in volleyball, basketball and softball.


Banner Graphic: How important are sports to you, and what have you learned from them?

Jalyn Duff: “Growing up, my dad [Jarrod Duff] has always been a coach so he took my brother [Duke] and I to the gym to practice every day. It was obvious we were going to have a ball in our hands all the time. Growing up, basketball was my sport. Sports were life, and it’s still prevalent today. This year has really taught me how I need to know that I can’t control everything. I have to put everything behind me and just work hard for my teams. Obviously there was a big [basketball coaching] change this year, and I couldn’t do anything about it. Basketball is my life and nothing is going to stop me from doing it.”

BG: After winning two straight volleyball sectional titles, did you see that coming when you started playing it at Greencastle?

JD: “I honestly didn’t think that was going to be possible. Volleyball was not my strong sport. My freshman year I was so terrible. Coach [Maggie] Walters tells me all the time that I’m not a volleyball player, but I just refuse to lose. That’s a big thing that has helped our teams win the past two years, and our whole team just refused to lose.”

BG: So what made you come out of retirement to play softball again?

JD: “The last time I played was going into my eighth grade year. I’m mainly playing for my best friend [Ivy Wright]. I think it’ll be fun. I don’t know what position I’ll play, just wherever coach [Tabatha] Briones puts me. I just want to help the team win.”

BG: What else do you do at school besides things involving sports:

JD: “I am involved with Special Olympics and Purple Pals. I have a special connection with our special needs students, and I’ve always had a great relationship with them. I love seeing the smile on their faces in Champions Together. I was in Latin Club for three years, and I’m an office worker.”

BG: What do you like to do outside of school and sports?

JD: “I like to spend time with my family and my friends. My friends and I watch movies and just giggle and act stupid. With my family, it’s like a reunion every time because we love getting together and we have a great time.”

BG: What are your favorites in movies, TV and music?

JD: “Ivy and I love the movie ‘Pitch Perfect’. That’s our show. We’re waiting for the next one to come out. In TV, my mom and I record ‘Teen Mom’ and watch it together. That’s kind of our thing. I like country music, and anything by Luke Combs.”

BG: What is something you have never done before that you would like to do someday?

JD: “I would love to go to Hawaii. The pictures you see of it are so peaceful and calm.”

BG: What is your biggest fear?

JD: “Being scared. It makes me go crazy, and I get mad when people scare me. I don’t like scary movies, and I don’t go to haunted houses.”

BG: What are your favorite and least favorite foods?

JD: “My favorite food is Mexican. I love me some chips and queso. My least favorite is anything spicy.”

BG: Do you have any pets?

JD: “No. My mom is not a pet lady. The only pet I’ve ever had was a fish I won at the fair. It lived for about five years in a big cereal bowl.”

BG: If your house was on fire, and all living things were already out, what is one thing you would go back and get?

JD: “I have a picture of my grandpa’s fingerprint. It’s right by my bed, and I look at it every night. My grandma got all the grandkids a framed picture of his fingerprint, and that’s very sentimental to me.”

BG: If you were to describe your personality in one word, what would that word be and why?

JD: “Loyal. You’re not going to talk badly about my family. I defend my family no matter if they are blood family or basketball family.”

BG: What has been your favorite place to visit?

JD: “The only place I’ve really gone is to Florida. Last spring break I went on vacation with Ivy and it was the most fun I’ve ever had.”

BG: How important is support from your family to your success?

JD: “My dad comes to my games every time he’s not coaching a game, and my mom is there every night. My mom and my grandma are here all the time, and they always have my back. That shows the type of people they are. I strive to be like my mom every day, because of how great of a mom she is to Duke and I. I just love her so much, and her being here means to much to me. I know she’s going to support me whether I play well or I play badly. She’s amazing, and I try to be like her every day.”

BG: Describe your overall school experience, both academically and athletically.

JD: “Playing Greencastle sports has been eye-opening for me. When I was younger, I would watch the games but they didn’t really mean anything to me. Now, knowing that the kids in my grade have the best school spirit and knowing we’re going to have a cheer block every night, and how our community backs us no matter what, Greencastle is going to do what Greencastle does — support each other. They are a big reason why we win most games. I love this school, and I’m glad I have always gone here. When volleyball ended it was hard, but I knew I still had basketball coming. Knowing that basketball is the last time I will get to play here is heartbreaking. McAnally is an amazing place to play.”

BG: What are your plans for after high school, and what career are you headed toward?

JD: “I have been accepted to three of my top four schools, but I don’t know where I’m going yet. I am going into elementary education. I have also thought about special education too. It will depend on how college goes.

BG: Is it difficult to keep up with your school work being an athlete?

JD: “It’s definitely tough, and it’s overwhelming at times. My mom has always made it a rule that homework and dinner are to be done before doing anything else. My mom doesn’t like Bs, and the expectation is that I have all As.”

BG: Which particular teachers have helped you the most in high school?

JD: “Mr. [Donovan] Wheeler has really helped me a lot in English this year. I have never been a confident writer, and he’s really helped me. I know it’s bad, but he helps me to figure out how to make it better. Having miss Walters in English my freshman and junior years was helpful also.”

BG: After college, do you have plans to live somewhere in the mountains or on the beach, or do you want to live around here?

JD: “I’m definitely going to stay around here. My family is here, and I will always be close to them. My little sister [Ashton] is just amazing. She has her moments, but she’s the biggest blessing in my life. She lives 30 minutes away from me and it sucks.”

BG: Do you think high school has gone fast, and are you going to miss it?

JD: “I’m definitely going to miss it. Playing in high school, you don’t really comprehend the feeling of winning and its something you might take for granted. That’s something that [former coach Bradley] Key always told me, is to enjoy the moment; when you’re older, you’re not just going to be able to play in McAnally. High school has flown by. I remember being a freshman just wishing it would hurry up and get here, and here I am a senior and it still hasn’t hit me yet.”