Jeremy Hendricks is a taco eating, beer drinking, artist, trail and ultra runner who comes from the urban sprawl of Phoenix, AZ and now makes his home at the foothills of Boulder, CO. You can follow Jeremy on social media.
I grew up like all young boys do; being influenced by sports heroes and organized team sports. I stood tall and lean as I do today and I had a hunger for being the "next big thing" in...well anything.
At an early age I was certain that I'd be a soccer phenom. I could kick a laser, shake and bake, outrun pretty much anyone on the field and lets be honest; I had an amazing bowl cut that would flow through the wind like Secreteriat. Alas, I actually kinda sucked at soccer because; well you kinda have to pass the ball to other people on occasion and that simply didn't make any sense to me. So, after a good crack I took my posed soccer picture and hung up my cleats indefinitely. I can still remember the feeling of the texture of the soccer ball against my feet as it glided down the field.
Next up to bat was literally and figuratively the undeniably greatest professional sport of baseball. I wanted to be under the lights making big plays, spitting in the dirt, smashing the leather with my Louisville Slugger more than anything. You see, baseball involves 1 thing. A very, very fast moving hard ball hurtling itself towards you whether at bat or on the field. I forgot about this critical component and my fear of said 5.25 ounce death nugget. I'd much rather discover bugs in the freshly cut grass and just run the bases as fast as I possibly could. After taking a good few shots to the arms, chest and legs; I took my oversized hat posed baseball pictures and hung up my glove indefinitely. To this day I can still smell and feel the cotton baseball pants and their unwavering ability to trap in the AZ heat.
I was the next Shaquille O'Neal. This was absolutely my calling. I was destined to be a basketball god. I had grown tall, lean, had an amazing vertical and could outrun anyone on the court, until the street lights came on. Basketball requires very little. A good ball, Nike's, hoop and a Gatorade. I found myself practicing moves like Clyde Drexler, Michael Jordan, Dominique Wilkins and absolutely dominating the local asphalt cracked court with 8' hoop. Yup, 8' hoop. Needless to say when it came to formally playing basketball...I was a little dreamer in a big world. Plus, that whole passing the ball to other people thing. So, after a good neighborhood career I hung up my oversized shorts and Nikes. The hot summers of the court burning my feet and the touch of the net on my fingertips are still with me.
Football. I was nearly 6' in high school and weighed an herculean 130lbs. Needless to say; I let the greats like Walter Perry, Jerry Rice and Joe Montana have their sport.
There was one thing that I did well in all of these sports endeavors. I ran. And I ran a lot, fast and well. I didn't have to pass a ball to anyone, nor was I likely to be hit in the schnoz by one. So, maybe there was something to this running thing. As simple as that I decided that this was to be MY sport. I could still look amongst the grass for bugs, move swiftly past others, sweat Gatorade, stare into the space before me, and feel the texture of the earth as it burned my feet. I'd found my own "next big thing." I was a runner and I was born to run after all.
I'll never forget what all of the other sports have given me; but I'm also likely to never hang up my running shoes either.