Name-Arealus Lee Jr.
Favorite Quote-"The people that mind don't matter, but the people that matter don't mind."
By Tonya Swim
Amarillo, Texas-Texans have always regarded football thereinas itself as an entity. For those outside of the Lone Star State however, it is, just another sport.
Texas boys are practically raised holding a football in hopes of playing under those Friday night lights, it's a lifestyle. New York City though, is a different story.
Arealus Lee Jr., quarterback for the Amarillo Venom knows all to well how that is.
Growing up in New York, there were not a lot of football teams, so AJ's first sport was baseball. "Baseball, Soccer and then Boxing believe it or not." he said. "I started playing football relatively late. I would say I was about 12 or 13 when I got into it. "
However, Football in high school was not his only focus. AJ played Basketball, Track, Lacrosse as well as Baseball at Easton Area High School and Butlet Senior High School in the suburbs of Pittsburgh.
Grabbing a scholarship for Basketball, AJ headed to University of Pittsburgh where he played shooting guard and small forward, then graduated with a degree in Business and Sports Management and Administration.
AJ was a reserve quarterback behind Warren Smith, (now with the Washington Valor, Arena Football League) in 2017 playing for the Lehigh Valley Steelhawks of the National Arena League where one of his favorite memories came from. "I'm a team guy and we got to the semi-finals last year." He said. "Just the come back to get there and everything is probably my best memory. Just being apart of that team, a lot of critics saying we shouldn't have been there, things like that. We earned our way there for sure.”
The Venom however, are in the Championship Indoor Football League, and not all leagues are the same. "I would say I kinda would go with the level of competition but then I wouldn't. The CIF has turned out to be pretty competitive. The speed is a lot different. The guys out here are just plain faster.
Guys in Pennsylvania are a lot bigger size wise, and in this league it's just plain speed that I have to get used to." said Lee.
Speed is not the only difference for this true blue Northerner though. "I love it here.
(In Amarillo) I'm from bigger cities and I'm used to walking out and seeing skyscrapers and things like that, being able to look out and see just flatland, it's beautiful here." said Lee.
Texans are known for their friendliness. Is Amarillo holding up to that standard? "The fans in Amarillo are fantastic! Every where I go, whether I have Venom gear on or not, they recognize me. Kids love me. My job, they love me here, the fans are just some of the best." stated Lee.
Every player I have ever encountered has some sort of game day ritual. Some are mild and ho hum, some are very staunch and superstitious. AJ is the latter. "I'm a real superstitious guy. Believe it or not, I have a pair of underwear I wear for every game, I wash them every week that are only for game day. I get up in the morning and relax a little bit, talk to my son, play with him a little bit. If it's a home game, spend some time with my son before the game. Get to the arena about 2:00, we have lunch, a team meal together and a team chaplin." Lee said. "Hit the field with some warm ups, but my game day routine always consists of music, I'm really big into music, getting taped and then writing family members that have passed names on my wrist tape, ankle tape, things like that have been a part of my routine since high school."
AJ came in for the Venom in the backup QB position playing behind Nate Davis, but that doesn't bother him at all. Team player should be tattooed on his arm. "I'm a team guy. I'm there to help him out. If he's seeing something differently, or if I'm seeing something differently we have that open communication where we can discuss and talk about it. There's been multiple times this year where things haven't gone the right way and then I saw something on the sideline and he comes to the sideline so we can discuss it and the very next play we go for the touchdown. So, it's difficult just from the team standpoint because we're not producing sometimes the way that we should, but I'm one of those guys that I'm here. If I get put in I get put in, if not, then I'm going to do my best to help the team in what ever way I can." Lee said.
The Venom host the Texas Power Saturday night at 6 pm in the Cal Farley coliseum.