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MailTribune.com
  • CITY LEAGUE

    Mr. City League

    Meet Kyle Thomson, one of the city's most active athletes
  • If movement is life, then Kyle Thomson is in good shape.
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  • If movement is life, then Kyle Thomson is in good shape.
    The 25-year-old Medford resident has played on several different softball teams, a volleyball team, a beach volleyball team, a basketball team, a kickball team, a dodgeball team ... are we missing anything?
    Medford recreation superintendent Rich Rosenthal calls Thomson Mr. City League Sports, "sometimes (playing) multiple sports on the same night."
    There's more: Thomson drag races his 2001 Mustang Cobra at Champion Raceway, he wakeboards with his friends and he bowls in a league.
    To keep bread on the table, the 6-foot-2, 205-pound Thomson works at Keller Supply Company moving freight from 6 a.m. until around 5 p.m. or 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. If he's off by 5 p.m., he'll rush home for a shower and then head to the field, court or track.
    Once there, Thomson is often greeted by his mom Anita or girlfriend Jessica Fuller. He's on softball and volleyball teams with them.
    At the end of the night, the family may very well share a memory and maybe a drink as they look back on the life of Don Thomson. Thomson's father passed away of Lou Gehrig's Disease in 2006, a dreadful and ugly way to go for such a great man, his wife says.
    Through this journey that has given him life — the birth of his daughter — and death, Thomson has kept moving.
    Life is better that way, he says.
    Growing Up
    Thomson was born in Arizona before the family moved to Medford when he was 2. He played one year of Little League and some indoor soccer as a child, but "didn't like the politics" Anita recalls. He was a passionate pro wrestling fan as a boy.
    Anita, a former high school athlete, got back into playing sports in the late 1990s when a co-worker asked her if she wanted to join a softball team.
    "One thing led to another," she says.
    Indeed it did.
    Her son's first involvement with city league was actually in a managerial role. At the age of 15, he became the Bandits' third-base coach.
    "He is a very good coach," Anita says. "He knows how I swing and bat and play the game, and I usually listen to him when he tells me what I should and shouldn't do."
    Anita also offers coaching advice.
    "Of course I do," she says. "Of course he doesn't listen. He is very stubborn."
    She's quick to add that he's also a "lifesaver." He helped to take care of Don as his condition worsened.
    Anita was working at Providence Medford Medical Center in the operating room around the time Don began having health troubles. He was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's Disease on Oct. 11, 2005 and passed away on Oct. 16, 2006 at the age of 55.
    Thomson dropped out of school at South Medford High his senior year to assist in taking care of Don.
    The family's entire situation at that time was heartbreaking, Anita recalls.
    "(Don) went from about 260 pounds when he was first diagnosed to 140," Anita says. "I needed help with the daily choirs and daily stuff. (Thomson) helped quite a bit. He was my life-saver.
    "Think about having to help someone with everything: getting up out of bed, moving someone into a wheel chair, going to the bathroom, showering, brushing your teeth, blowing your nose. He lost his voice and he was a salesman for Channel 5. For a salesman to lose the ability to communicate, that was a biggie."
    Thomson earned his GED a couple years later.
    "Once his dad passed away when he was almost 18, that showed him that life is kind of short," Anita says. "That had a big impact.
    He got quieter. After about a year he was back to where he was before."
    Of ultimate significant for Thomson was the moment his daughter Kylie was born on Aug. 28, 2008.
    Might she love sports, too?
    "I hope so," he says with a laugh. "I will give her a little time before I start training her."
    Another special person in Thomson's life is his girlfriend Jessica. She was a mystery to Thomson until around the time he began playing volleyball. The two found themselves on the same team, curious about each other.
    "As soon as he started he was a natural," Jessica says. "We never really talked when he first started playing."
    After the third week, Thomson asked Jessica's brother Shane for her phone number.
    Sparks soon flew.
    "He's random and spontaneous," says Jessica, who makes it to almost all of Thomson's games.
    Considering Thomson's schedule, her dedication is quite impressive.
    On Sundays, Thomson plays on a co-ed softball team and on a basketball team. On Mondays, he participates on a competitive men's softball team and on a sand volleyball squad, with little time to spare in between. Come Tuesday, he plays on a co-ed softball team. The list continues, with bowling on Wednesdays and indoor volleyball on Thursdays. Friday is kickball.
    Thomson has wanted to take a break a handful of times only to have a friend ask him to play on a team. Thomson says he can't turn down an offer like that.
    Over the years, he's racked up at least 27 championship T-shirts.
    "I've won a lot of championships," Thomson says. "That is what I am out there playing for."
    Just how long can Thomson maintain this schedule? He says he should have had shoulder surgery three years ago. A rotator cuff injury nags him.
    "I am still in good health," Thomson says. "My shoulder is starting to give a little. I just play through it. I am thinking when it finally gives out and the doctor keeps recommending surgery for it, that will slow me up enough to get rid of some sports. I am pretty sure I can still play though."
    Reach reporter Dan Jones at 541-776-4499, or email djones@mailtribune.com
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