He may not resemble Zack Mayo, who made a mesmerizing appearance at a modest factory to seek the love of his life.
But the 1982 romantic drama film might resemble a certain four-year catcher, who excelled at two other sports, as well.
Someday, Richie Eyre, a 2019 Tallmadge graduate, may share a title that famously described Richard Gere’s character in what some consider as the military version of Cinderella.
"An Officer and a Gentleman."
In this case, though, the affable and ridiculously gifted Eyre will take a slightly different route than the suave but extremely vulnerable Mayo.
While the embattled fictional Aviation Officer Candidate wore white as he strove to fulfill his dream as a Navy pilot, Eyre’s wardrobe will feature mostly blue colors.
Army Blue, to be more specific.
Eyre, who helped lead the Blue Devils baseball team to its greatest three-year run in recent memory, decided to continue his academic and baseball careers at the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York.
Eyre plans to major in business administration at "The Point" and hopes to join the Black Knights’ baseball team as a walk-on.
"It was one of those things where I fell in love with the academy right away," he said. "I knew I wanted to go military in some form or fashion. I ended up just putting all of my eggs in one basket."
Eyre, who also excelled as a wrestler and as a running back and safety on the football team, played a vital role in Tallmadge’s three-year rampage as he sported the tools of ignorance.
Thanks to Eyre’s work behind the plate and in the batter’s box, the Blue Devils won the Division II state baseball title in 2017 and then reached the state semifinals the following year.
Although there was no trip to Columbus, Eyre will certainly cherish his last dance as a high school backstop for the blue and gold.
Despite losing 10 seniors from the previous year, Tallmadge advanced to the Sweet Sixteen in 2019.
Eyre certainly did his part.
He smoothly adjusted to the comfort zones of a pair of first-year starting pitchers and batted .349 with a team-leading 29 hits, 18 RBIs and nine doubles at the plate. Eyre also scored 23 runs and stole five bases.
And the best news is this: Eyre put up these stellar numbers with nothing but class and dignity.
"He’s a phenomenal kid," Blue Devils head baseball coach Kenny Linn said. "He comes from an outstanding family. He respects adults, umpires … he’s the total package. He’s just a wonderful kid."
Like his teammates, Eyre couldn’t help but notice the annoying whispers. Ironically, many of those murmurs could be heard in his own backyard.
"Tallmadge’s days as a state powerhouse were over," they chirped. Or worse yet, "There was no way the Blue Devils could possibly duplicate their greatness after losing so many talented players, including their two stud hurlers."
Now that Eyre and the rest of his fiercely determined teammates have silenced their critics, the multisport maestro, who also graduated with a grade point average of 4.0, can sit back and smell the roses.
"It was awesome," Eyre said. "I literally grew up playing baseball together with those guys. We heard the doubts from the community. It was one of my favorite times."
Finding a favorite moment of Eyre’s glorious high school career is the equivalent of solving linear algebra. The abundance of memories are astonishingly overwhelming.
Not that Eyre minds, though.
One could legitimately argue that baseball is his second best sport. That’s because Eyre was an absolute beast as a grappler.
The cat-quick and sculpted teenager set the school record with 160 career wins.
To top it all off, he saved his very best for last.
Eyre concluded his wrestling career with a trip to the Division II state tournament. He finished just one win short of earning All-Ohio honors at 160 pounds.
Eyre posted a glittering 46-9 record last winter despite switching to a lighter weight midway through the season. He went all in at 160 pounds after starting off the winter at 170.
"It was the hardest cut I made in my entire life," Eyre said. "It was brutal. I owe it to my mom for making a huge diet adjustment. My family started eating a little healthier because I think they felt bad."
This monstrous sacrifice put quite a damper on Eyre’s 18th birthday. When he had the opportunity to celebrate a gluttonous feast that featured plenty of tasty cake and ice cream, how did the famished teenager respond?
Perhaps former multiple weight-class boxing champion Roberto Durán had the best answer. It was unexpectedly uttered at a certain title bout nearly 40 years ago in New Orleans.
"I just ate some chicken breasts and a grapefruit," Eyre said.
Eyre also knew all about German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche’s statement when it came to his work on the mats.
"That which does not kill us, makes us stronger."
These words carried much weight for the accomplished teenager since Eyre’s drill partner was rising senior Jesse Kanatzar, who treated the mats as his own house of horrors.
"We brawled every day," Eyre said. "Jesse played a pivotal role. He had great success."
Appropriately enough, Kanatzar may be Eyre’s replacement in the backfield when the football team takes the gridiron this fall.
Eyre certainly knows how his heir apparent feels.
Although he was too skillful to have a permanent parking spot on the sidelines, Eyre was stuck behind 2018 Tallmadge graduate Ty Shannon, the Blue Devils’ rugged horse of a running back who could run through walls endlessly.
Thanks to Shannon and his change-of-pace partner, Eyre, Tallmadge reached the second round of the Division III playoffs in 2017.
"We owe that season to Ty," Eyre said. "I completely understood the situation. It was a lot of fun to get more carries my senior year. It’s the same way with Jesse. He has a chance to be the No. 1 guy."
Eyre will reluctantly step aside from the Friday night lights. He also will terminate a role that he was especially fond of performing: being a gladiator on the mats.
It’s now time to focus on maintaining a level swing and a sharp throwing arm as he takes one final crack on the diamond.
Time will tell if Eyre can continue his exploits in the grand old game. Regardless, his athletic experience, especially his relationships with Linn, head wrestling coach Jason Shaw and former head football coach Alan Vanderink, along with assistant wrestling and football coach Gary Kanaga, drastically changed his life for the better.
Eyre treasures every moment he spent with those men, who proved to be quite the army sergeants in their own right.
"I couldn’t ask for four better guys," Eyre said. "They really love the players. They’re not just coaches. They make an impact on your life."
Now that impact will come from Eyre’s future fellow soldiers, sergeants, lieutenants, corporals and generals. He is expected to join the Army July 1.
Eyre certainly knows there will be plenty of challenges ahead as he will be led by some of the world’s greatest and strictest leaders.
Not surprisingly, Eyre is foaming at the mouth.
By the way, the versatile young man isn’t planning a short stay near the Hudson River. He has some rather lofty goals to achieve once he completes his four-year studies at the popular federal service academy.
Let’s just say Ensign Mayo would be proud.
"One of my biggest goals is to be an Army Ranger," Eyre said. "I have to make it through West Point and attend Ranger School. I want to come out of there as a second lieutenant."
Reporter Frank Aceto can be reached at 330-541-9444, email@example.com or @FrankAceto_RPC.