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For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
Zephyrhills' Tyler Guy plays three sports, which leaves him little time for anything else.
By Joey Knight, Times Staff Writer
Published February 24, 2008
In 21st-century high school athletics, Tyler Guy is a three-step drop from endangered species status. While more and more of his contemporaries focus year-round on one sport in dogged - and sometimes delusional - pursuit of a scholarship, the rangy Zephyrhills sophomore excels in football, basketball and baseball.
For the jocks of a generation ago, that would have been the norm. Today, it's the exception.
The Times recently caught up with Guy - a quarterback, power forward and pitcher/infielder - by phone to gauge his athletic passion and get a sense of his schedule. An in-person interview was planned, but Guy was home battling severe flu-like symptoms that sidelined him for two baseball games. Even iron men, it appears, can get a little iron deficient.
What's a tougher transition: football to basketball, or basketball to baseball?
Probably basketball to baseball. ... because in football, I'm a quarterback and pretty much throwing, then you go to basketball where you don't really throw at all. Then you go back into baseball, where you have to put in all your time for pitching and hitting.
Have you been tempted to focus only on one sport?
I definitely haven't been tempted at all to go to one sport. I thought about maybe going to two sports. ... The little bit of break time you get, you go straight from one sport to another; you never really get any time off.
Other than weekends, do you recall a day where you didn't do anything sports-related?
Hmm. Nah, not really. It's pretty much practice every day. Actually, I think there might have been one day over Christmas break where we didn't have practice. It was one or two days, it wasn't a lot.
Has anyone ever advised you to specialize in one sport?
I'm sure people have said that quite a bit, but I don't really know one person who said to me, "You really need to do this."
What's your favorite sport?
Your favorite athlete?
Danny Wuerffel. He played quarterback like I do, and he's a good, Christian guy; look what he's doing now in Louisiana for all those people. I like the Gators, and he was quarterback when I was little and I always liked him.
How have you managed academically with such a busy sports slate?
Well, my parents make me have a 3.5 (grade point average) to play anyway. ... I had a 3.875 on my last report card.
Times staff writer Izzy Gould contributed to this report.
The basketball player
When he started playing: In middle school.
Career at a glance: Guy, right, has collected more than 500 points and 500 rebounds in two varsity seasons.
Size: 6 feet 6, 220 pounds.
The football player
When he started playing: At age 7 in the Dade City Police Athletic League.
Career at a glance: Threw for 1,117 yards (with nine TDs and seven INTs) for the Bulldogs last fall.
The baseball player
When he started playing: Around age 7 in the Dade City Little League.
Career at a glance: Hitting - 5-for-9 with two home runs and nine RBIs in first three games of 2008; Pitching - 2-0 this season, allowing six hits in 13 innings.
Should potential Division I football/basketball/baseball prospect Tyler Guy focus one sport, or is it good to diversify in high school?
Alan Reed, Zephyrhills basketball coach:
"I think it's entirely up to (him) and his parents. He's been playing sports his entire life. He enjoys playing, so for him to sit out a long time and not play anything, I don't think that's what he wants to do. ... We've had a lot of two- and three-sport athletes go on and have successful careers. To me, it's their mind-set if they enjoy playing. My observation of him is, he enjoys playing."
Tom Fisher, Zephyrhills football coach:
"He's still pretty young to go ahead and make a decision. I think he needs to keep all his options open for a while. ... I just hope he can mature enough physically that he has his options by at least the end of his junior year. Maybe he can go one more full year of trying to go all three and maybe get a more realistic view."