DeKalb grad living the dream on national stage

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By Kenny Mitchell

Basketball legend Larry Bird once said, “A winner is someone who recognizes his God-given talents, works his tail off to develop them into skills, and uses these skills to accomplish his goals.”
Those words of wisdom and truth may have never been personified more than in the life of DeKalb graduate Tyler Pickle, who has taken the skills he learned at DeKalb High School and Texas A&M and turned them into his dream come true working for ESPN.
Pickle, who has written in the past for The Tribune,  graduated from DHS in 2015 as the valedictorian. He will graduate on August 10th from Texas A&M with a degree in Sport Management with minors in Journalism and Communications. 
He will graduate from Aggieland on August 10th, turn 21 on the 15th, and finish his internship with ESPN on the 18th. Needless to say, August will be quite a month for him.
Pickle will spend his summer in Bristol, Connecticut interning for ESPN in their production department. 
Every day will add to his list of learned skills as he works on highlight reels. Each night he is assigned a game, or games, and is tasked with picking out the key plays and putting together a highlight package to be used on ESPN shows such as Sports Center, First Take and Baseball Tonight. He will also have opportunity to shadow experts in other departments like ESPN The Magazine and ESPN Radio.
Landing the internship was no easy task, as Pickle was selected from among 1,000s of other applicants. He credits his work with 12th Man Productions and connections with the SEC Network, along with God’s grace and extreme prayers, for helping him land his new role, saying, “People in the ESPN family I had networked with went above and beyond and put in good words for me in Bristol. Without the support I received from the SEC Network and Texas A&M, I never would have had this opportunity.”
Pickle learned of his selection while on vacation and received the phone call while eating lunch in Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World.  
He states, “It was a very “magical” moment, as I got to accept a position with Disney and ESPN while at Disney World itself. It could not have been more perfect.”
So, what got Tyler to ESPN?  What drove him?
Like most people on the road to living their dreams, there are people along the way that inspired and pushed him. 
People like 12th Man Productions producer Justin Argo and Texas A&M Journalism professor Angelique Gammon were both huge influences Tyler says, as were people here in Bowie County. 
Three people stick out in his mind... his late uncle Dennis Wormington, DHS teacher Lacey Mullins and his mom, Susan Pickle. 
He says, “My uncle was very creative minded, running a t-shirt and photography business called Too Many Irons. When I was in middle school, he taught me how to use Adobe Photoshop, the basics of photography, and I really got hooked. Mrs. Mullins was the technology teacher, as well as the yearbook sponsor, during a majority of my time at DHS. She appointed me co-editor (along with Elizabeth Dorman) of the yearbook my junior year and editor my senior year. She also made me a producer of DHS’s weekly news cast The Growl my senior year. By putting me in these leadership positions, she really allowed me to flourish and come into my own as a creative and a leader. She encouraged every crazy idea I had, for better or for worse! (as evident by the terribly embarrassing videos still on YouTube) Meanwhile, my mom has been my number one supporter my entire life. She is my rock and embodied in everything I stand for. No matter what, my mom has always believed in me and has never thought any dream was too far fetched. She has always said “someone has to do it, why not you?”, and she truly believes that. Every ounce of confidence and strength in my body comes from that woman. She is my ultimate inspiration.”
Something else drove him to where he is today, and this is where Tyler proves that personal loss can be triumphed over with imagination, creativity and purpose. 
Pickle explains, “There are two other things that really influenced me - the movie Field of Dreams and Sports Center. Since I was very young, the movie Field of Dreams has always reminded me of my late father. Most of my time with my father was spent in the Iowa/Nebraska area, so the location along with the father/son aspect of the movie resonates with me very heavily. Any time I have missed him or felt like I was missing something without him, I watch the movie and immediately feel closer to him. I have done this since I was old enough to understand, and still do it to this day. Likewise, following my mom’s incident in 2010, I would often get knots in my stomach anytime I tried to go to sleep. The only thing that could clear my mind and relieve the nerves was watching Sports Center. I could turn the TV on and flip to ESPN and everything would fade into the background. Sports television was, and still is, my escape. Neither the people who made Field of Dreams or the crew working on Sports Center had any idea who I was, yet they were such a big part of my life. That’s what drives me. I now get the opportunity every night to work on the same show that meant so much to me in my darkest moments.”
So what does the future hold for Tyler Pickle?
He says, “I want to be a producer. I am a story teller at heart, and that’s what I want to do for the rest of my life. However, I have no idea yet if I want that to be in live events, the studio, taped events, documentaries, or feature films. Every realm has unique challenges and benefits. Until I do figure it out, I am going to take every opportunity I get to further my craft and become a better story teller. At the end of the day, I just want to entertain people and help make their lives a little bit better. In the immediate future, I would love to stay on in Bristol as a part of the CAP (Content Associate Program) program. 
“He is amazing,” says his mom Susan. “I know I’m his mom and of course I’m going to say that, but he is so humble about his talent. He is so gifted! I could not be more proud! All any parent wants is for their kids to live out their dreams! Now I would not be honest if I didn’t tell you I hope he wants to continue his career in Austin or Dallas or Houston instead of Bristol, CT-but as long as he has that priceless smile on his face it will be ok.”

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