MUSKEGON, Mich. — Tyreese Oakes takes the concept of family seriously.
“I know how it is with family,” the 17-year-old explains. “Like family gives you a different type of feeling.”
So whatever his family wants, the 6-0, 180 pounder gives. Like taking a job at Walmart and giving his paycheck to his younger brother or playing a sport just to make his old man happy.
“I just listened,” said Tyreese. “(Dad) was eager. He wanted me to do it.”
And so that’s how the career of Muskegon’s star wide receiver began. Initially, he didn’t like getting hit but he did like seeing his dad Mico (short for Domico) happy, and he loved the time they got to spend together.
“We basically took care of each other,” Tyreese said. “We looked at each other like father and son but we (also) looked at each other like brothers.”
But just as his feeling on football started to turn, his father took a turn for the worse.
“When I found out that my husband had cancer, it was difficult,” said Tasha Oakes, Tyreese’s mother. “It was Tyreese’s freshman year of high school when his dad passed away.”
“It was hard,” remembers Tyreese. “I couldn’t focus. I just wasn’t feeling it.”
In mourning, Oakes became to withdraw. He was losing interest in school and he realizes now he was depressed.
But then one day it came to him. While his dad was gone, his dad’s dream was still very much alive.
“He wanted me to see put smiles on the crowd faces, score touchdowns, get interceptions, make tackles, that’s what he wanted me to do,” Tyreese said.
After he got back on track, Tyreese did all those things and more. He’s currently in the middle of his senior season and is in the process of deciding his pick of five Division I offers (Buffalo, Eastern Kentucky, Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, and Western Michigan). Dad would be proud.
Heck, Tyreese says dad is proud.
“I still hear him,” he says. I have dreams about him. I even see him sometimes around. I feel him sometimes too. It’s like I feel him and then It’s just crazy.”
It’s the power of family and nothing can change that.
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