Eye of the Tyler: A different Tyler redefines true meaning of sports
The Eye of the Tyler column you’ve grown accustomed to has my voice. This is from a different Tyler – one that can’t speak.
Tyler Karolczyk, a 2010 Wando graduate and Clemson student, passed away last November. He was beloved in the community. His love for the game of baseball made him memorable, noted Mount Pleasant Recreation Department athletic director Karl Ankerson.
Ankerson submitted a write-up from a memorial baseball game played at the Park West Athletic Complex on Nov. 4 by some of Karolczyk’s friends. Team Tyler was created in honor of him.
“Tyler is remembered by many as a young man of great character and a friend who was always there to lift your spirits,” Ankerson wrote.
T-shirts were designed, donations were made and plans were set to take the diamond at Park West to “salute this insipirational young man.”
When we’re little and start off playing sports, our local YMCA leagues will preach that the final score doesn’t matter. It’s all about the camaraderie, they say.
Then, as we grow older, that notion is dismissed. The final score is the only thing that matters, we tell ourselves.
With maturity, we often come full circle without the help of a volunteer coach with a whistle. There truly are things of greater importance than numbers on a scoreboard.
Those participating in the Team Tyler game realized that. “All who played on Sunday agreed that as a skilled and competent baseball player, Tyler was likely laughing at their level of play,” Ankerson said. “It was not error-free baseball as Tyler would have played, but all had a great time.”
The memorial game isn’t the only way the community is recognizing its fallen comrade. The Mount Pleasant Diamond Warriors travel baseball program will annually award the “Tyler Karolczyk All Heart Player Award” to a deserving individual who shows similar character traits as Karolczyk.
The honor, also known as the “TK award” for short, isn’t based solely on statistics. The recipient must show a dedication to being a winner off the field, as well.
Sports builds character through the trials and tribulations that athletes face, but it’s that character that will be remembered far longer than any championship.
“It (the TK award) will be the highest of honors in the Diamond Warriors organization,” Ankerson said. A sports-related award that’s not about stats and dividing winners and losers?
That’s what sports is all about.
About Team Tyler
Team Tyler hopes to continue the memorial game annually and increase support and awareness of the event. If you would like to become a member of Team Tyler, contact Ankersen of the Mount Pleasant Recreation Department at 884-2528 or firstname.lastname@example.org.