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Tahlequah’s Jayley Ray – Athlete Spotlight – Presented By Workman’s

I am very proud

Of my daddy’s name

Although his kind of music

And mine ain’t exactly the same

Words from the country music song, “Family Tradition”, by Hank Williams Jr. are just part of the reasons why Jayley Ray enjoys playing softball any time she can. 

“I like country music including Chris Stapleton and Carrie Underwood. Dad listens to country a lot too but he also likes classic rock,” smiled Jayley. “We both love the game of softball. I’m beyond blessed that I get the chance to experience the game with my dad.”

A junior at Tahlequah, “Jay-Ray” explains the advantages and challenges being a coach’s kid.

“You’ll always be coached harder and critiqued more than other kids but the real advantage is developing a view of the game in a more diverse manner and getting to share it with my dad.”

Her dad and coach is Chris Ray, the head coach of the Tahlequah softball program, who shares the same thoughts about the coach-player, father-daughter relationships.

“It is a tedious balancing act knowing whether you need to wear the coaching hat or the father hat,” replied Chris. “Jayley has followed me around from ballpark to ballpark all over the state of Oklahoma since she was old enough to walk. With that being said, she and I have learned over the years how to handle most situations that come our way.”

Having played softball since the age of five, Jayley now plays third base for the Lady Tigers, a position that requires total focus.

“I love playing third base because of the challenges of the position. Balls get to you quicker and you only have a split second to react,” she said. “It’s called the hot corner for a reason.”

Competitive, respectful and passionate are words often used to describe the everyday actions of Jayley Ray. To the girl that wears jersey number-13, there’s one that matters most.

“Respectful is most important to me because I have high standards for myself, as a player and as a human being as well,” confirmed Ray. “Dad has always taught me to be a leader, not a follower. To me, that’s how you example the value of character in your life. How you reveal yourself will ultimately determine your success in life.”

Combining her softball statistics, her classroom achievements including a 4.0 GPA and a family tradition of doing things the right way, Jayley Ray is ready to handle the challenges and opportunities that will come her way on the road to success, on and off the field. 

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