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More than an athlete Canyon: Tiffany Dyson

Posted: June 10, 2014 10:50 p.m.
Updated: June 10, 2014 10:50 p.m.

Tiffany Dyson will be attending Dartmouth University and plans to play softball there.

 

Editor’s note: Today marks the beginning of a series in which we recognize athletes at the local high schools who represent their respective schools not so much by what they do on the field, but off of it. We call them “More than an athlete.”

There’s a good chance Canyon softball player Tiffany Dyson knows exactly when this article is running.

There’s also a good chance it’s written down in her daily planner.

With so much going on, there’s just no other way to keep track of all her obligations.

And keeping track and staying organized is vital when you’re as busy as Dyson has been throughout her high school career.

Between softball, both at Canyon and with the local So Cal 3D travel ball team, the Girl Scouts, in which she participated since the first grade, and academics, where she has never achieved less than an A- in her four years, there’s not much free time in Dyson’s world.

“I love (the planner),” Dyson says. “I need a new one. I had one this year and it was full from my homework and weekend plans. There was almost no blank space.”

There was no blank space because there was always something happening.

Those weekend plans almost always involved travel ball softball games.

And the weeks were filled with homework to stay on top of.

“We’re unbelievably impressed with her,” says her father, Jimmy Dyson. “She took on so much and what she had to give up, she missed out on a lot of everyday kid stuff in a way because she’d have practice till 5 or 6, then she’d have to do homework in AP classes so the homework was even more. What she gave up compared with what all the other kids get to do has been the most impressive part to me.”

But Dyson, extraordinarily, still did find some time to live a teenager life — with some help from understanding friends.

“I definitely have had most of my best friends as softball players and a lot of them are going on to the next level too, so it’s nice to see them setting goals and achieving them and it’s been nice growing up with girls who understand that this schedule can be grueling sometimes,” Tiffany says. “It’s good to have someone that knows exactly what that’s like.”

It’s been a little more difficult on Dyson, though, as she has thrown just as much of her energy into school and Girl Scouts.

She joined her troop in first grade and even as other girls dropped out along the way, she never left.

“You would have never known she had all those extracurricular activities going on,” says Canyon head coach Tim Melton. “In fact, because of that she didn’t sign up for the fall class and she never missed a (scrimmage), even though she wasn’t in the class.”

Dyson says she was one of five girls in her Girl Scout troop last year, and now as an Adult Scout, she is eligible to lead or volunteer with other troops — something she’s looking forward to pursuing.

“Initially my mom signed me up for it because it was a good way to meet new girls and new friends and along the way I continued with it because it’s just for the girls in my troop,” Tiffany says. “They grew to be my sisters and I like doing events with them and staying in touch with them. I stick with it because it’s been a big part of my life and I wanted to make it to the end and say I went as far as I could with it.”

That’s another theme for Dyson, who stresses the importance of seeing things through.

“Absolutely, I don’t think she’s ever quit on anything in her life,” Melton says. “And she certainly, when we were down and out and our team was divided, she was one of the kids that pulled it back together.”

She has long had her sights set on playing college softball, and knew academics could help her get there.

So when she got her first high school “A” as a freshman, she took it upon herself to keep the high grades coming.

This year, Dyson was honored with an All-CIF academic award, given to athletes with exceptional performances in the classroom.

“I was so proud of her,” Jimmy says. “It’s something that you never think is going to happen. It’s always happens to someone else, that kid from Saugus or West Ranch or wherever. For it to happen to you, I was beaming with pride. And to see what she had to do to get that, too, makes it that much more impressive.”

But when she still hadn’t committed to play college softball as a junior, especially in a Foothill League chock-full of early commits, her worries mounted.

“I definitely have a passion for the sport, but I would say junior year was tough for me because a lot of girls get recruited by college early nowadays and I hadn’t been signed,” she says. “I hadn’t committed to a college yet, so I was getting nervous and it did seem like all my hard work wasn’t going to pay off.”

But then senior year came, and she committed to play softball at Dartmouth University, an Ivy League school that showed the importance not just of her softball prowess, but the culmination of endless nights spent studying or volunteering.

“I could not believe the opportunity that I’ve been given,” Dyson says. “It’s the best of both worlds. I couldn’t ask for a better academic school and also the softball program is great, too.”

She’s also excited to hit the classroom, where she plans to major in biology and enter the medical field as a nurse or doctor.

And you can rest assured, if she puts her mind to something, she’s going to accomplish the goal.

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