Seniors athletes leave their footprints on their respective teams as they graduate, but Jada “Mama” Briscoe leaves an impression off of the softball diamond.
“[Softball] taught me to communicate better, and just think about other people and their feelings, and to try to help out more,” Briscoe said about her 12-year softball career.
Being only one of two seniors on the Lady Jaguar team along with outfielder Brooke Fraysher, Briscoe didn’t use any senior superiority.
“She’s not one of those seniors that looks at underclassmen and dismisses them,” sophomore Hadiza Sarr said. “She’s become friends with everybody. Everybody loves her.”
Primarily playing pitcher and third base, Briscoe’s connection with her teammates off the field translates to better performance on the field.
“When I’m catching (and Jada is pitching), I tell myself it’s just me and her out there. It brings us even closer together,” said starting catcher Lakayla Massey, sophomore.
“Her biggest thing is that she leads by example and he has a lot of softball knowledge,” head coach Brittany Ritter said about Briscoe’s influence on the field. “We’re definitely going to miss her knowledge as far as what base we are going to in certain situations and her batting.”
The team amassed a 2019 record of 5-8, much improved from their previous records of 3-10 (2018), 4-16 (2017), and 4-16 (2016). For the first time in nearly a decade, the program had enough girls coming out to field a junior varsity team to better develop younger players.
“Her (Briscoe) being one of two seniors on the team, she was a role model. She always had her schoolwork together and participates in activities outside of softball,” said Ritter. “They (the team) looked up to her in that way.”
Although the support for the Lady Jags is rising, there was a time when many of the players quit due to poor attitudes and losses.
“When I first started, it wasn’t good because my seventh grade year we lost all of our games. And in eighth grade we won just a couple,” said Briscoe.
The bad vibes even started getting to Briscoe at some point.
“When you lose all your games, you’re not happy. It makes you not want to come back out and play,” Briscoe said.
Yet, Briscoe persevered through it all after taking a break from softball her freshman year to focus on the transition to high school.
“It’s something I love to do, and I don’t want to give up on it because I’ve come so far to stop just because it got hard when I got older,” Briscoe said.
Briscoe doesn’t forget about the hardships the team used to face, and uses what she learned to guide her teammates.
“I think I make a big impact because I’ve been playing a long time,” said Briscoe. “When they get older they’ll be a strong team.”
The leadership Briscoe possesses birthed her team nickname.
“We call her Mama Briscoe because she influences us, inspires us and is really kind to us,” freshman pitcher Mallory Huntsman said.
Like a mother, Briscoe lays down the law when she needs to. “She’s very open-minded” said Massay. “If there’s a problem, she’s very like, ‘get it together.’ She’s not holding us down.”
Briscoe’s presence will be missed next season after what she’s given to her teammates.
“The senior night was really emotional for us. Even though she’s only one person she made a big part of it,” said Sarr.
In true “Mama” form, Brisoce plans on going to college next year majoring in exercise science to become a physical therapist.
“I helped out my grandmother when she was going through physical therapy, and I really like helping older people out, trying to get them better through rehab,” said Briscoe.
While she has not decided whether or not to continue to play in college, Briscoe takes experiences and lessons that will help her in everyday life.
“It (softball) taught me to communicate better, and just think about other people and their feelings and everything to try to help out more,” Briscoe said.