Brotherhood. Sisterhood. Family.
These core values are embraced in all NCAA sports. When student-athletes leave home for the first time and enter the collegiate world their teammates and coaches become family – a home away from home. It’s a profound connection that student-athletes rely on to navigate the balance of academics, sports, wellness and social life.
In some rare cases, however, a student-athlete’s actual sibling is also competing in the NCAA provides a direct family link and ally in their sport.
In the rarest of instances: Take three siblings competing in the same sport, in the same conference, at the same time.
Enter the Tyndall brothers – Jesse, Mitch and Wyatt. The Canadian born trio reigns from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and all three brought their talents to Big Ten men’s gymnastics. Jesse is a freshman at Ohio State, Mitch a red shirt freshman at Nebraska and Wyatt a senior at Penn State.
“When we were younger the whole NCAA route never really crossed our minds, especially being from Canada,” Jesse said. “Wyatt ended up getting (a gymnastics scholarship) and that’s when it really peaked our interest. That’s when we started to realize all three of us could eventually be in the Big Ten and we could all either compete with or against each other and that would be something pretty special.”
The three grew up playing sports together and this season they had the chance to face off brother vs. brother representing their collective B1G squads, but Ohio State, Penn State and Nebraska didn’t have a tri-meet. In fact, because of their age difference all three Tyndall brothers have never all competed against each other in a gymnastics meet. That all changes Friday when Jesse, Mitch and Wyatt step onto the stage at the 2019 Big Ten Championships.
“We were all texting asking which events we were going to do and I realized holy smokes I am actually competing against you and we’re going to see who’s better,” Wyatt said. “It was definitely different, but it’s exciting and makes it a little more competitive and a little more fun. We don’t want to lose to each other, but we’re always happy to see the other one do well. I’m really happy it worked out and we’re all pumped to be here now.”
We don’t want to lose to each other, but we’re always happy to see the other one do well,” Wyatt said. “I’m really happy it worked out and we’re all pumped to be here now.
Sports were a huge part of the Tyndall’s childhood. You wouldn’t catch them with a video game controller in their hands, but a baseball, hockey stick or gymnastics rings? Now that’s more like it. When the time came to narrow their focus down to one sport, the decision came naturally.
“We were all multiple sport athletes for a long time and gymnastics is such a time consuming sport,” Wyatt said. “It got to the point when we were all playing baseball, doing gymnastics and all playing hockey, so it got busy. I think if you want to do gymnastics at a high level or play hockey at a high level at some point you need to focus on one thing. (Gymnastics) is rewarding in interesting ways, but it has been a big part of our lives for a long time. Gymnastics has always stuck with us. It felt right (to choose gymnastics).”
Their oldest brother taking the leap into NCAA gymnastics was the catalyst for Jesse and Mitch to follow in Wyatt’s footsteps. Seeing his success motivated them to step out of their comfort zones. Although all three live in different states they always have heavily relied on their brotherhood.
“It’s cool how we all chose the same path,” Mitch said. “All of us going down to the states and to all different schools was awesome. Once we all got down here it has been phenomenal. (We go to each other for advice) all the time. We phone each other at least once a week to try to figure some stuff out and talk our problems through. Moving down here I relied on my teammates, but I felt more comfortable talking to my brothers to start.”
It’s cool how we all chose the same path,” Mitch said. “All of us going down to the states and to all different schools was awesome. Once we all got down here it has been phenomenal.
During competition season, it’s scarce for the entire Tyndall family to be together and that’s what makes the Big Ten Championships so meaningful. It’s a brotherly rivalry, a family reunion and a chance at a conference title all wrapped into one.
“It’s something that I’ve been looking forward to for a long time,” Jesse said. “My parents will get to come down and cheer us all on. They’re pretty conflicted on what they’re going to wear and what schools to represent so they’re going to have to figure out something. (My brothers and I) are still chirping each other and giving each other a hard time about competing, but we’re definitely looking forward to it. It should be quite the experience.”