From the pack n’ play to the hardwood.
Basketball has always been a part of Tyson Elwer’s life and as the Shawnee senior prepares for the upcoming season he can thank his mother for playing a big part in his success.
Elwer came into his own last year as one of the top players in the area, being named to the Western Buckeye League second-team and a vital member of the Indians squad that went undefeated, won the league and was on the verge of playing for a regional title.
But Elwer’s journey in becoming a top talent in the area might seem like a given, being the son of all-Ohio player, Amanda (Elwer) Garlock, at Delphos St. John’s and the grandson of Denny Elwer, the all-time leading rebounder in Delphos St. John’s history, but his trip to being a top talent starts with his mom who’s perseverance, hard work and determination was a major factor and it eventually became a part of his life.
Garlock proved to be a force when she played and helped guide the Blue Jays to a 2000 state semifinal berth. Because of her exploits she earned a scholarship to play at Central Michigan.
In her junior year she got pregnant with Elwer and many might have thought her college basketball career might be put on hold or over. Instead, Garlock, forged ahead and persevered.
“It was a trying time,” Garlock said. “But like I told him your teammates in high school and college become your family. I was four hours away from my actual family so they helped me out a lot. I had a secretary from the basketball department who watched him during several of the games.”
With support from her hoops’ family and friends, Elwer was taken care of and often was present at practices and games and even went on a road trip on one occasion.
“He stayed with me in a hotel with me in Detroit,” Garlock said. “I wouldn’t change it now but looking back then I said `I can’t do this,’ but I had several coaches who were just awesome and my teammates were like sisters and I actually had a brother and my sister-in-law who were just 30 minutes away. I saw them a lot and obviously my parents were a huge help.”
Minus a trip to Texas where her parents watched him, Elwer was with his mom almost all the time. He would go to daycare during the day and go to practice at night complete in his pack n play. Abnormal yes, but necessary.
Garlock adds that she got good advice from one of her coaches once.
“It is not the situation that defines the man, it is the way the man handles the situation or woman and I lived by that,” Garlock said. “People can make it but it isn’t easy.”
Garlock endured all the ups and downs and earned her bachelor’s degree and then set off to start her next chapter in her life that included getting a job a Spherion and getting married to Jason Garlock and raising her family.
One might think the next step for Tyson Elwer was hitting the courts and follow in the family tradition.
But that was not the case initially and Garlock and her husband, Jason Garlock, did not push.
“We always encouraged him to try things out and he didn’t come to Shawnee until the fourth grade. He went to Delphos St. John’s the first three years of school and when he came to Shawnee he really had not worked at it very much. He was tall and you know the age old was he has to play basketball so we had that but he didn’t blossom until his father and I told him, ‘listen you have to start working at it.’ “
Elwer admits that he was not totally committed prior to that but when he was on the fourth grade travel team and there he began to hone his skills starting with putting the extra work in his driveway basket.
“I wasn’t huge into it at the time. In the fourth grade because I was trying everything,” Elwer said. “I played one year of football but I didn’t like that but after that I played on that travel team and I saw we could be really good.”
By his fifth grade and sixth grade, he knew he had to step up his game because he realized he wanted to make the team and not get cut.
In addition to extra time in the gym and on the driveway and got help how to play inside from mom.
“She would try to show me the post moves that she liked to do,” said Elwer, who admits that he was a little leery of his mom teaching him but soon realized she knew her stuff. “I figured out that she could teach me something.”
From that point Elwer has dedicated himself to improving in all facets of the game, from ball-handing to shooting, and received help from Bath and University of Findlay standout Taren Sullivan.
Basketball has become a vital part in his life in other ways than just wins.
“Whenever I’m stressed I go outside and go to the gym and it gets my mind off things,” Elwer said.
Garlock adds that basketball, and any sport, teaches self-discipline and time management and this has crossed over to Elwer’s academic life.
“He is a great student and that is probably what we are most proud of is his grades,” Garlock said. “People say what do you care about sports with the covid but this is very serious to them. They have worked countless hours in the gym. I have been with him countless hours in the gym with him, don’t get me wrong but with the work that you have put in you want to be able to have the chance to show what you can do.”
Garlock adds that when he goes to college, Elwer recently committed to St. Francis last week, that the discipline he learned in hoops will pay off at the next level. Elwer said he will be majoring in accounting.
“They always told me academics first,” Elwer said. “I enjoy sports but I enjoy school as well.”
For now, Elwer and the Indians are more determined than ever to produce another big season after having their dreams cut short last year.
Elwer remembers when he heard the news that their regional final game was canceled that eventually led to the season being over.
This season they hope to have the same success as last year and true to form, mom is hoping he can enjoy what she did in high school and all the fun of going to state and the intangibles basketball can bring.