Scholar Athlete: Tyler Buckles

Published 12:01 am Thursday, February 16, 2012

Tyler Buckles, center, a junior at Adams County Christian School, plays baseball and football. His father, Ben, right, gives him sports tips while his mother, Donna, helps him with his studies. (Lauren Wood \ The Natchez Democrat)


NATCHEZ — Depending on whether it’s sports or school, junior second baseman Tyler Buckles has one of his parents on his case.

Buckles, an A-B student at Adams County Christian School, said he’s grateful for both of his parents and how they push him. When it comes to baseball, Buckles’ dad, Ben Buckles, makes sure to give his son tips on how to play the game.

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“He lectures me after the game and points out every flaw I made, practically,” Tyler said.

But Tyler said he doesn’t get frustrated with his dad whenever his dad tries to correct him.

“I just take it in stride, because he’s watching me and he knows what I’m doing wrong,” Tyler said. “If I listen to him, it will help me in the next game I play.”

Ben admitted that his son’s description of the post-game conversation was accurate.

“Basically, that’s what I do,” Ben said. “I let him know what he did wrong and what he can do better, in a loving way. I’m not trying to be critical.”

While some parents might yell at their child when their child is playing, Tyler said his father doesn’t bark instructions at him.

“He just sits back and watches,” Tyler said. “It’s special to have him there watching. You can look up there and see him in the stands, and sometimes he’ll nod to me to watch the ball or stay back on the offspeed pitch.”

Tyler’s studies are his mother Donna Buckles’ area of influence, Tyler said, and she’s made it clear to him that schoolwork is important.

“She’s pushed me all the way through school,” Tyler said. “If she sees my grades slip, she jumps on me and makes sure I get them back up.”

But his mother does more than just make sure he’s studying, Buckles said.

“She helps me study when I get in a bind or have a big test coming up,” Buckles said. “I’m glad she does, because it’d be hard to motivate myself otherwise.”

And Tyler, who plans to major in engineering when he goes to college, said he expects more of the same even after he’s moved out.

“I’m sure she’ll be calling me and checking on me,” Tyler said. “If my grades start slipping, she’ll probably take a visit to whichever college I’m at and give me a few words.”

Donna said she absolutely would make such a trip, since she’s been keeping on Tyler about his grades ever since he was in kindergarten.

“It’s important,” Donna said. “I got to see the reward of good grades in high school by going to college based on grades. I want to see the same for him.”

Tyler has been playing varsity baseball at ACCS for three season. He’ll play predominantly at second base this season, he said.

“It’s a whole lot easier for me, since my arm isn’t as strong as our shortstop (Chris) Carrell’s,” said Tyler, who played shortstop when he was on the junior varsity team.

“I have a lot more time (making a play), and the position doesn’t rush you. I’m just a whole lot more comfortable.”

Tyler also said he’ll see some playing time in center field, and he actually enjoys the outfield more than the infield, he said.

“I feel more in control (when I’m in the outfield),” Tyler said. “You have all the time in the world to get everything just perfect, which makes it a whole lot easier.”

But Tyler said he’s not intimidated playing the infield.

“I’ve just got to do what I’ve got to do,” Tyler said. “I just have to be mistake free.”