Love and loyalty are word that aren’t always found in today’s society, but at Baxter Springs High School a bond between two best friends and teammates knows no boundaries. After Tyler Rainey passed away in 2018, his best friend continues to keep his memory alive, on the court and off.
“He was a great friend, I mean everybody at the school, I mean you either loved him or your hated him, you know, there was no inbetween,” said Baxter Springs Senior, Trey White, about his friend and teammate, Tyler Rainey.
In 2018, Baxter Springs High School lost a member of their family, when student-athlete, Tyler Rainey was involved in an accident that eventually claimed the young-man’s life. It was a loss that no one saw coming.
“To be honest my dad he woke me up that morning and told me that Tyler had been in a wreck, but I mean everybody thought he’s just got in a wreck you know, nothing severe. I mean, give him a few days you know he’ll be fine he’ll get out. It was never really a thought that he wasn’t going to make it,” said White on finding out his friend had been injured.
“I remember vividly the phone call that I got. Wasn’t quite sure, you know, we’re going to the hospital to see. Trey was asking a lot of questions that I couldn’t answer. Then as it all unfolded, you know, the severity of it became a reality,” added Baxter Springs Principal and Trey White’s father, Cory White.
But through the pain, those closest to Tyler would hold on to their memories with him to help with the healing process.
“I can vividly see him in the hallways it was every single day I passed Tyler in the hallway. ‘Tyler how are you doing today?’ a vibrant, infectious smile ‘I’m doing good Mr. White. How are you doing?'” said Cory White about Tyler.
Trey White would choose to honor his best friend and teammate by wearing his number twenty-five jersey for the rest of the season.
“I remember I went to the hospital. I talked to Jennifer, Tyler’s mom, about it. And you know she, I asked her if it was ok that I could wear it. And you know, she broke down. She told me that she would love it and that he would love it if I did it, too,” said Trey.
It wouldn’t be a one time deal either, White still wears 25, and the number appeared at a major moment this season. On January 25th, at Riverton, White sat just 25 points away from a career 1,000 a mark he would hit that night.
Trey recalled a very special moment after the game, “one of the first people I saw was Tyler’s dad, and it was great to see him there and to share that moment with him.”
This year would have been Tyler’s Senior year and eventhough he physically isn’t there, his community, friends, teammates, and family continue to keep his memory alive as the all unite as members of Team Rainey.
“It’s the one thing we want to do man, we want to make sure that nobody ever forgets him. We want to keep telling his story and by wearing that 25 and that shirt just makes everybody remember back to when he was here. Just makes sure nobody forgets about him,” Trey said about carrying on his friends legacy.