Remembering Arnie Tyler, Sr. · 2 April 2022
Photo courtesy of Teresa Tyler York
It is track and field (T&F) season, which means our team is making its annual trek to Yakima for the Holder Relays. Which used to mean that I would get my annual throwing clinic from my friend and Washington State Track and Field Coaches Association hall of fame coach , Arnie Tyler, Sr. Sadly, this year and in the years to come, I will only get to remember my friend.
(It is funny how life comes full circle. Arnie was a teacher at my high school. I never had Arnie as a teacher, but I remember walking past his biology classroom and seeing this imposing figure standing over a science bench preparing something for his next class. He looked like the he could flex his muscles and rip his shirt to shreds. I would not want to be a student who crossed him. Arnie coached shot and discus at the nearby Whitworth College. Coaching the throws is where the full circle comes in nearly thirty years later.)
I love to go to the Holder Relays, held at Zaepfel Stadium at Eisenhower High School. The event is a great one for the kids, but it is the people who make the event. All the athletes, coaches, and officials are there to have a great time. And the athletes all hope that they compete well. Those are all good enough reasons to go to an event, but I had another reason for loving the Holder Relays. I loved to see Arnie.
Arnie Tyler, Sr. was a throws coach at Eisenhower. I actually do not know whether he was the official coach or a volunteer or just a throwing sage. I do know that he imparted his throwing knowledge and wisdom to anybody who would ask. Athletes, coaches, anybody willing to hear the wisdom of the ages. And whether my athletes did well at the meet or not, I got a chance to get better at coaching.
When I first started coaching, I was excited to see Arnie at the Holder Relays. We chatted a bit, and he made sure that I had his email address so we could keep in touch. Actually, we did more than chat on that first reacquaintance. Arnie gave me as much of his coaching wisdom as my feeble mind could hold. My brain was still trying to figure out the whole concept of being a T&F coach at the time, and I could not comprehend all that he was telling me. Especially since I had never been a thrower.
As the years have gone by, I have understood more and more of what Arnie has told me. We have had long conversations at meets and emails and phone calls through the years. Arnie has taught me so much about throwing and the psyche of athletes.
Photo courtesy of Teresa Tyler York
One of the fondest memories I have of Arnie is of when he worked with one of my athletes at the Holder meet. Taryn was having a tough time. She had something wrong with her foot or ankle, but the biggest thing was that she was having a tough time of it mentally. She did not think that she could get better. She did not think that she was good enough. Well, Arnie worked some Arnie magic and helped Taryn get on her feet. He helped her understand about the mechanics of her body and how she could still compete with her bum foot. That day, Arnie gave her the greatest gift he could give. He gave Taryn his time.
That gift of time Arnie gave to Taryn was a gift that gave beyond the meet. Taryn competed well and had a great season. She enjoyed herself. And whenever she felt down, she would get herself out of it by remembering the pep talk Arnie gave her.
I will always remember Arnie Tyler, Sr. as a teacher, coach, and friend. He helped me understand throwing better as I went to my annual coaching clinics with him at the Holder Relays. He told me stories (which were always about his kids and grandkids, and his athletes). He gave me the gifts of his time and of himself, for which I will always be grateful.
I love going to the Holder Relays. It is great competition for the athletes, and it is a good time to get together with other coaches. It will not be the same without Arnie, but I cherish the times that he and I got to spend together.
Thank you Arnie for just being you.
© 2022 Michael T. Miyoshi
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