By SCOTT COTTOS
Micah Hyde’s dream of playing in the NFL carried with it another goal.
“I always told myself I wanted to be able to give back and if I found myself in this situation, I was going to,” said Hyde, a former Fostoria High School All-Ohioan who this past winter completed his rookie year with the Green Bay Packers. “Thankfully, I’m in this situation and I’m able to give back, and things like this, raising money for the Lady Lightning and raising money for the therapy center at Good Shepherd, is the least I can do and I’m glad that I’m able to do it.”
As he was at last month’s Good Shepherd Home fundraising dinner, Hyde will be the guest of honor at a “homecoming banquet” scheduled for April 12 in the Fostoria Junior/Senior High School cafeteria.
Proceeds from the event, at which fans will be able to take pictures with Hyde and receive his autograph, will benefit the Fostoria Lady Lightning travel girls fastpitch softball organization.
The Lady Lightning hits home for Hyde, whose step-father, Clayton Moore, is the founder of the program that is heading into its seventh year, and his sisters, Jada Hampton and Erica Moore, play on a team.
“Since they were 1 year old, Jada and Erica have been best friends and I saw them growing up and playing softball together,” Hyde said. “I recognize the Lady Lightning from a long time ago when Clayton said he was going to start it. I can give back to them and hopefully help them out a lot.”
Moore said the teams incur a number of travel-related expenses, as well as those for equipment, insurance and tournament fees. Three Lady Lightning teams, in the 18-and-under, 10-and-under and 14-and-under age groups, are planned for this summer.
“We’re always looking for fundraisers with the girls and I thought this was a great opportunity to honor one of Fostoria’s athletes at the same time — just a way of saying, ‘Hey, thank you for all the good times you’ve given us.’
“During the season, that’s all you heard — ‘Did you see Micah on TV?’ Micah this, Micah that. I thought it would be a nice thing for him to come home and for everybody to get the opportunity to come say thank you and show their appreciation.”
Hyde certainly was worthy of conversation in his first season with the Packers. After being named the Big Ten’s defensive back of the year as a senior at Iowa, his selection by Green Bay in the fifth round yielded a season in which he made 55 tackles from his cornerback position and averaged 24.1 yards on 22 kickoff returns and 12.3 yards on 24 punt returns. His biggest moment came when he returned a punt 93 yards for a touchdown against the Minnesota Vikings.
Years before, though, like members of the Lady Lightning, Hyde was a participant in youth sports in Fostoria.
“Growing up playing for the Blackhawks, we all went through the same thing, starting out at a young age,” he said, referring to his Fostoria-based travel baseball team. “I understand about having to pay for the travel and paying for the tournaments and paying for the equipment. It was a great experience for each and every one of us who played. The least I can do is help out with that.”
In slightly less than three weeks, Hyde is due back in Green Bay for team workouts as the Packers aim to improve on an up-and-down 8-7-1 season in 2013 that brought an NFC North Division title but also a first-round ouster from the playoffs by the San Francisco 49ers.
All told, however, Hyde enjoyed his entry into the NFL.
“It was really fun,” he said. “I couldn’t have been on any better team. There wasn’t any of the rookie hazing that people hear about. It was a good experience. They didn’t treat you like a rookie. They expected you to come in and play right away. It was a fun experience and I think that we came together at the end of the season.”
In addition to dinner and photo and autograph availability, the homecoming banquet, scheduled for 6-9 p.m., will feature auctions and a 50/50 raffle. Tickets can be purchased at First Federal Bank and Quality Printing and Graphics in Fostoria, as well as the Fostoria schools athletic department, or by contacting Moore at 419-436-0326. Ticket sales will close at 9 p.m. Monday.
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