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Golden Valley's Tyshon Thompson: A golden child growing up

Posted: June 7, 2013 9:39 p.m.
Updated: June 7, 2013 9:39 p.m.

Golden Valley's Tyshon Thompson contemplated quitting school after the death of his mother on Nov. 2, 2012. With the help of the Golden Valley community, though, Thompson has improved in school and is learning to cope with the loss.

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Editor’s note: This is the second in a series of stories in which The Signal recognizes high school athletes whose greatest achievements go well beyond the playing field.

 

The most difficult part of the situation was looking at mom’s face.

She was so disappointed in her son Tyshon that she would barely speak to him for two months.

As a sophomore, the Golden Valley High student-athlete got into some trouble that ended up getting him removed from the Grizzlies football team.

Tyshon wasn’t supposed to get into trouble.

Mom called him the “Golden Child,” because out of all his siblings, he was going to be the one who wasn’t supposed to make bad choices.

At 16 years old now, Tyshon Thompson will begin his senior year at Golden Valley High.

In the past year, he earned a spot back on the football team. He also learned how to cook. He saw his mom beat cancer. And he saw his mom die from the disease. He decided to stick with school. And he saw his grades rise. All in that order.

“She really devoted all her time toward me. Since I was born, it was me and her,” Thompson says. “It was me and mom through everything. We had our fights, but even through that she said, ‘You’re my Golden Child. It’s in you. I know you can do this.’ It meant a lot.”

There are other stories of high school kids who have seen a parent die.

This one is unique, says adults at Golden Valley High, in how Thompson grew up so quickly.

Golden Valley head football coach Robert Fisher met with Thompson prior to his junior year on things he would have to do to earn his way back onto the Grizzlies football team.

Those things included he had to be on time, communicate with coaches on a regular basis and be accountable for his own actions.

Thompson played special teams, slot receiver on offense and outside linebacker on defense in 2012.

But just prior to his junior year, tumors were discovered in his mother Andrea’s brain.

When he was an eighth grader, she had breast cancer. But recently she had been on the road to recovery.

However, Thompson says, in August, Andrea was seemingly healthy again.

“It was a miracle,” he says. “She beat it. It was a miracle. Those were the greatest two months of my life — August and September.”

In October, she was told that the cancer was in her spine.

Thompson lived alone with his mother.

While she was sick, he had to learn quickly to do things by himself — clean, pay bills, cook.

It was a steady diet of steak and macaroni and cheese.

“I’d throw in Twinkies to spice things up,” he says.

Thompson says he tried to stay positive, but his grades bottomed out as he saw his mother reach death.

On Nov. 2 — the high school junior, football player and teenager lost his mother to cancer.

“His mom was quite a character — both vocal and just funny,” Fisher says. “She’d come to games and be up there screaming (in the stands). Her line was, ‘Get your money, baby!’ He has this great personality. It was so hard. He wasn’t that normal, laughing, smiling self.”

But Fisher says that Golden Valley became his family quickly.

Football parents brought him food and let him know that he had support.

The team’s water girl brought him his homework so he didn’t fall farther behind.

And his school counselor looked out for him.

“I think he was trying to handle it on his own at first,” says Golden Valley counselor Justin Thomas. “I was hands off, letting him do it on his own. Once it settled in, he needed it and came in. ... He did his best to stay strong. At times he was on the verge of breaking down. He was able to pull himself together.

“It takes a lot of courage to go through what he dealt with.”

Thompson says he was so depressed that he thought about quitting school.

But somehow, the kid summoned the ability to turn the most jarring event of his life into a tribute.

His father moved in and his Golden Valley football family boosted him up.

From the fall semester to the spring semester, his GPA climbed more than a half a point and rose over 3.0.

He got a job at the school’s print shop.

This is Thompson’s life now — school, football, working out and working.

He wants to be a professional football player, like many kids.

His fall-back plan is to become a mechanical engineer.

If his mother could see him now, she’d see his new path.

The Golden Child is trying to become a Golden Man.

 

 

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