May 19, 2010 8:56:00 AM
David Miller -
Spare time used to be in short supply for Tyson Lee, but without college football commanding most of his hours like in the past he''s decided to give football back to his hometown.
As a quarterback at Mississippi State, Lee ascended into a Southeastern Conference starting spot so many high school quarterbacks dream.
He was one of them.
Starting May 31, on the same Columbus High School practice fields where he spent extra hours throwing passes into a net, Lee will hold the Tyson Lee 3-D Football Camp.
Discipline, determination and dedication embody what it took for Lee to achieve his dream and he''s looking forward to passing on to kids from first to 12th grade.
The extra time that would have normally been dedicated to spring practice and workouts with the Bulldogs turned into developing a way to repay the community that supported him on his path to success.
"Something small became something big," Lee said. "After thinking about it and praying about it, I decided I would give it a shot.
"Because of the love and outreach I got from Columbus, I had the confidence and support I needed. It''s a part of my success."
Lee, a 2006 graduate of Columbus High School, understands he''s the epitome of doing things the right way, working hard at his craft, in the classroom and in strengthening his faith.
To help with the numerous drills during the three-day camp, Lee''s enlisted help from friends who''ve lived their lives in similar fashions.
He could have went for the "big" names or guys that played high-level college or pro football. Instead, he thinks his message of sticking to a blueprint for success in any avenue of life is best explained by people who are already there.
"Dreaming big doesn''t have to be about playing college football," Lee said. "I picked guys I felt like would be good role models. A lot of the guys I''ve asked are in med school, are engineers or working on seminary. They''re some close friends of mine and they''ll be good examples for kids to look at."
Lee''s status as an SEC quarterback brought him notoriety he didn''t have before transferring to Mississippi State from Itawamba Community College, where he was a junior college all-American. He played in front of 90,000 people on nation-wide broadcasts as a Bulldog, but most people around Columbus know Lee before the big-time.
The good Christian kid from Columbus is just a little bit more famous because of playing for MSU.
"We put fame out there and judge it different ways, but the guys who are going to be there have fame they go about every day of their lives," Lee said. "Dreams come in all shapes, forms and fashions. The kids will dream and maybe one day they''ll be living their dreams like we did."
The first camp date will be for first through third graders, while Day 2 will be for fourth through sixth, and Day 3 for seventh through 12th. Cost for the first session is $40, $50 for Day 2 and $60 for Day 3.
Deadline to register is Friday. Camp participants will receive a T-Shirt and autographed picture.
As for the instruction campers will receive, Lee wants to emphasize that his camp is not exclusively for quarterbacks. The drills are aimed at football fundamentals and will be similar to what Mississippi State uses at their practices, Lee said.
Each day''s session will last from 8:30 p.m. to noon.
Monday, Lee said, will be a unique experience.
"It''s extremely humbling to be back on the field where it all began," Lee said. "I remember going on that field everyday, sometimes by myself to work and get better at the game. To actually be having my own camp on that field is awesome."
Lee, who recently graduated from MSU, will start graduate school in the fall. He''s looking forward to spending more time with his sister Tamber, who is set to graduate from Columbus High, and his younger brother Trace.
"I''ve kind of felt like ''where did my life go,''" Lee said jokingly. "For so long, my life has been about football. It''s going to be great to spend time with my brother and sister. My brother''s playing football and we''ll get the chance to workout, run and spend some brother time together."
Anyone interested in participating in the camp can email firstname.lastname@example.org. Registration forms are also available at Propst Park in Columbus.