From the Football Field to the Battle Field


Tyson Marcum poses for his senior pictures in his army gear (photo from Tyson Marcum)

Austin Evans, Sports Editor

Kids who grow up playing football their whole lives dream about playing under the lights on Friday nights, but sometimes a senior decides to follow his true passion and sit out his senior year of football. 

Tyson Marcum has chosen to take a path that is out of the ordinary for most. He is going to enlist in the army after high school.

Marcum has played football since kindergarten, but due to the chance of injury, Marcum decided it would be best for him to sit out his senior year of football so he didn’t get hurt before joining the army.

“This being my last year to play football it was a tough one to not play knowing I’ll never get to touch a football or put shoulder pads on. After that first game at Lebanon my dad called me and asked how the game went and I busted out in tears because I knew I missed out on the one thing I loved most, which was to play football. For about 8 years I’ve wanted to join the army, but this past year it became a reality,” said Marcum.

It was impossible for Marcum to make this decision by himself. He loves football and this would have been his last season, but he also understands to look at the bigger picture. Marcum and the football coaches had sat down to talk about what Marcum should choose to do for his senior season.

“He had some injuries throughout his football career and was nervous about another big injury his senior year would impact his ability to do what he is truly excited for – serving our country!  When he came to me and talked to me about it, he seemed devastated because he loves football! He loves being around his teammates and being a part of the family atmosphere that the team provides.  I told him to still do everything that he would if he were a football player but just don’t put on pads for practice and games, then you don’t put yourself at risk and you can be a part of both things you love,” said head football coach, Alex Garvin.

Even though Marcum won’t ever play football again, he’ll always remember what the game has brought to him, and how much the coaches have helped him with his journey in life.

“Football has helped me become the person I am and the coaches have shaped me into the man I need to be. They have also had a big influence on me to join the military in a sense, and becoming close with them has been great,” said Marcum.

Coach Andy Endress and coach Alex Garvin had nothing but good things to say about Marcum. They helped him with his decision to sit out this year, but they also worked hard on trying to keep Marcum on the team and stay involved with every team activity and be apart of the team in every way, besides playing.

“I am so proud of Tyson. He’s a great man, a tough kid, and one of the most down-to-earth teenagers you’ll ever meet. It takes a lot of resolve to turn down the opportunity to represent KFB for one last time. A lot of times guys just walk away from the team and join the student section. He saw the importance of choosing to be a part of a close-knit class of senior football players. This experience will translate very well into the army. His decision will have a ripple effect for his friends and family in the future. I respect anyone who chooses to serve our great country. He will make a great soldier. He loves our country and wishes to make productive change,” said Endress.

The military is nothing new for Marcum. His uncle was in the navy for 4 years, and his cousin who he is very close with has been in the airforce for 4 years as well. Tyson was

Tyson Marcum and teamates walking into the stadium right before the start of the last home football game of 2019 (photo from Tyson Marcum)

officially sworn into the army on July 3rd, but will swear in again on June 29th. This means he is enlisted in the army and he can not change the job that he chose to do in the army.

Once Marcum graduates he will have a month off until he goes to basic training, where he will be for 10 weeks. After that, he gets a couple of days off and then heads to advanced individual training (AIT) schooling, where he will learn how to do his job as an information technology specialist for the army. Marcum chose the military route over the college route because he does not see himself going to college right now.

Family has been a big part in Marcum’s life, and being so far away from them with so little contact is going to be tough.

“The thing I’m most nervous for is leaving my family behind. I won’t be able to see them or call them for 10 weeks. We only get to write letters back and forth. When going to basic training, they take away your phones and any source of contact. It’s a huge mind game,” said Marcum.

“Tyson is an amazing young man with a huge heart.  Him choosing the military just shows how much passion he has for his country, for discipline and for the example of service.  I couldn’t be more proud of a player than one who chooses to put on that uniform,” said Garvin.