A homerun for the football team

Most football players spend years on the field practicing their skills and working hard to get ahead in the game, but one Pierce College player took a slightly different route: through baseball.

Tyler Kolodny, 25, spent his high school years playing varsity baseball at El Camino High School and then played for the Baltimore Orioles with its Minor League affiliates for six years and the Frontier Greys in 2013.

Kolodny also played with the Orioles in the Gulf Coast League with other top prospects in his first year after being drafted in 2007.

However, four hand surgeries and a broken thumb affected his ability to swing a bat, and he decided to give football a shot, despite never having played before walking onto the field at Pierce. He said he is loving this new chapter in his life.

“There’s nothing that compares with quality competition,” Kolodny said. “There’s nothing like practicing and training with your teammates. The camaraderie is awesome.”

That camaraderie is apparent in the team as they encourage and cheer each other on. After Kolodny scored his first two touchdowns in one game, quarterback Nicholas Arbuckle said that Kolodny’s accomplishment was the highlight of the game.

“He went into the game with only one catch all season, so the opportunity to get him the ball a lot, and see what he could do was really good,” Arbuckle said.

The Brahmas’ assistant head coach and offensive coordinator Jason Sabolic has known Kolodny since his days at El Camino, when Sabolic coached the baseball team. He said that Kolodny could pick up any sport within a matter of weeks and play it at a high level.

“He is one of the best athletes I’ve ever had the pleasure of being around,” Sabolic said. “He’s extremely hard working. He’ll work until he achieves it. He’s unfaltering. He doesn’t like to rest, or take time off. He’s just a consummate professional athlete.”

Now that Kolodny has added football to his realm of experience, he has broadened his career possibilities, and hasn’t decided what he wants to do next. He said that he is going to play this season and then take a few weeks after it’s over to really figure out the best game plan.

“My coaches tell me everything I’m doing should get me to the next level. I’ve spoken to a couple of D1 colleges,” Kolodny said. “Everyone asks me what I’m going to do. Am I going to do D1 or go back to baseball? I’m not going to make that decision now because right now I would lean toward football.”

While he knows that going back to the minor leagues in March is an option, Kolodny is enjoying the feeling of being on a winning football team this season.

“It feels special cause I’m starting at tight end and I’ve been a significant role in our 6 and 1 success,” Kolodny said. “Knowing that I’m contributing to our team’s goals and success definitely makes it that much sweeter.”

Whatever Kolodny decides, he knows one thing for sure: he wants to exhaust his playing career, whether in baseball or football, and go on to have a long coaching career. He has already started, and is coaching at Calabasas High School this year.

He also coaches club teams of seventh and eighth graders, developing their skills and getting them ready to play high school baseball. He said that every time he coaches, he realizes how much he loves it.

“I’m definitely gonna stay in the game. I love sports and I’ll be in it until my grave,” Kolodny said. “To make that a job, I’ll never have to work a day in my life.”