Editor’s note: With social distancing guidelines firmly established, Sports Editor Daniel Mayes is conducting interviews with area athletes from the safety of a secluded corner of his home office. Quarantine Chronicles is a Q&A series with local sports standouts about their daily lives during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Murray County High School senior Tyler Hayes had already called his athletic career over by the time spring sports seasons started to shut down due to the spread of the new coronavirus (COVID-19).
Hayes had suited up for his final season playing football for the Indians in the fall, where he played defensive back and wide receiver. He was in the midst of his final few months of high school when he was sent home to finish the year in mid-March, along with countless other seniors across the United States.
“Like a lot of people here, I didn’t really think much of it until it started getting bad,” Hayes said of the virus.
Hayes spoke with the Daily Citizen-News about his life since the outbreak forced the cancellation of the remainder of the high school year.
Question: What are you up to while learning from home?
Answer: I haven’t done much really, just hanging around the house a whole lot. I play video games a lot, I was actually playing before I got on the phone. I actually found a TV show not too long ago, and I’ve binged it a little bit. It’s called “Prison Break.”
Q: Do you like staying at home, or would you rather be in school?
A: I didn’t think I’d miss school as much as I actually do now. I see posts about it all the time with people missing school and wishing we could have our senior year back.
Q: What are your plans for after high school?
A: I’m going to Dalton State College, but I won’t be playing any sports. I wanted to stay close to home. My father passed away in 2011, he had leukemia, and I want to try to stay close to home for my sister. I’ve realized that there is a lot more in life than playing sports. I love it, don’t get me wrong. There’s not much that I’d rather be doing than playing football. I miss it already.
Q: What has been your favorite moment of your high school sports career?
A: In my junior year, I got an interception against Calhoun. I think it was my second or third game starting at corner.
Q: What is your favorite memory from high school outside of sports?
A: The teachers there were great. If I needed help with anything, I knew that I didn’t have to fear to ask. They motivate their students really well to do well in school.
Q: Who is someone you look up to?
A: I really looked up to the coaches on the football team. They represent what I want to be. They’re all really good husbands and really good fathers, too. I’ve looked up to that. For me, with my dad, I’ve had to kind of step up and be more of a father figure for my sister. Watching how the coaches are great fathers, that’s how I want to be for her and my own kids and wife in the future.
Q: Who is your favorite athlete?
A: It’d probably be Julio Jones. I’m a big Atlanta Falcons fan. As a receiver, he can do it all.
Q: What is your favorite movie?
A: It’d probably have to be “Facing the Giants.” It’s very inspiring.
Q: What is your favorite app on your smartphone?
A: I’m more of a gamer, so I play a lot of games on my phone. I think it would probably have to be Yahtzee. I started playing recently. I’ll be playing video games on my PlayStation, and I’ll look over and be playing on my phone at the same time.