What’s up everyone! It’s been awhile since my last post but I’m going to work on keeping it up to date. The past week or so I have been in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina for family vacation and my brother’s baseball tournament. My brother, Cole, plays for the 13U High Point Panthers travel team and their team was competing in the Triple Crown Nationals. The Panthers didn’t play particularly well, but Cole hit and pitched well, including a complete game pitching performance (I’ll take credit for that haha!). Other than baseball, it was a good time to hang out with my family away from our normal lives in the booming metropolis of Lexington. We went out on the beach most days but some days it was just way too hot for my liking. We also went to a Pelicans’ minor league game, did some college dorm shopping, and ate some really good meals. Overall, it was a great trip and Myrtle Beach always has something new going on.
In the next week or so, I’ll be back at home enjoying my summer before I head off to school. Mitway, the second most booming city in Davidson County, is hosting the official summer festival for the North Davidson community, the Slip ‘n Slide. This Slip ‘n Slide is homemade, with a tarp that stretches down a sloped hill and with a water hose that keeps the tarp wet enough to slide on. At the bottom of the tarp is a pool filled with water that eventually includes soap that the participants add to their bodies to make sliding even easier. It’s a really fun activity for everyone and a good chance to catch up with friends that I haven’t seen since school. Other than that, I will be trying to stay in shape for baseball and hanging out with friends and family. Thanks for the read and check out the other posts if you haven’t already!
P.S. The actual town is spelled Midway, just a little jab at one of the communities.
This is a picture of last year’s Slip ‘n Slide. The rumor is that this year’s slide is twice as big.
Hey guys, hope everyone is doing well this week. Before I get started, I just wanted to let you know that this is going to be one of the most in-depth and fun blogs that I will write. The topic of my shoes is something that I am really passionate about and I will admit, I am extremely addicted. So let’s get it started!
For the past 3 years, I have been collecting shoes of all kinds that appeal to me. But that’s not when I first began being interested in shoes. I can vividly remember being in 3rd grade and Zach Fritts, my friend’s brother, having the Nike Shox BB4. It was the newest of Nike Basketball’s top shoe line and I had to have that shoe. Zach’s best friend also had this shoe but in another color and I was determined to find them. However, my shoe size was still that of a kid and I could not wear the adult sizes that the BB4 only came in. I was so upset, almost heartbroken, because I had seen this shoe on numerous athletes including Vince Carter and various college basketball teams in the early 2000’s. So I guess you can say the Nike Shox BB4 started my addiction.
Let’s fast forward to my 5th-6th grade years when I was at the peak of my basketball career. LeBron James was arriving in the NBA at this point and I wore his first signature shoe, the Nike Air Zoom Generation, for my basketball games. Also at this point in time, my dad was traveling overseas to China for work and he would tell me how cheap the shoe prices were in the city. I begged him to return with shoes for me, as the kicks ranged from $10-20. Adding all the trips together, I can remember my dad bringing home the Jordan II, Jordan XX, Nike Shox R4, Nike Shox NZ, and multiple other Nike shoes. I was so excited about having all these shoes, even though their prices added together were probably cheaper than one pair from the U.S.! However, as I began to learn more about the shoe game, I realized that these shoes from China were all fake and were not as coveted as I thought.
So let’s fast forward one more time to the summer of 2008. I had various shoes that I wore for basketball or casual wear but I found a website on the internet that attracted hours of my attention. The site was called Nike Talk, and is home to one of the largest shoe-based message boards out there. I started reading the different topics people discussed on there and some of the terms were very familiar, while others such as Concord, Foamposite, and OG seemed to be in another language. So I convinced my mom to buy me a pair of Jordan VIII Aquas and when they arrived, I knew that I would not be able to stop my shoe addiction. I studied Nike Talk day in and day out, hoping that I would learn more about the sneaker community and to find more shoes. Over the past 3 years, I have acquired a total of 33 (and counting) pairs of shoes that I consider part of my collection. Other shoes not in my collection include shoes I wear daily, flip flops, and baseball specific shoes. I have ordered shoes from online, in store, and over the phone. I have waited in line for hours at a time and also been unsuccessful in acquiring certain kicks. Today, I am familiar with most employees in the Hanes Mall Footlocker/HOH and some days I will just walk in the store to chat it up with these guys. Well let’s get to the stories of some of the shoes that hold the most value (not $$ related value) to me.
Jordan VII “Hare” – I purchased these in the fall of 2008 from the South Chicago Nike Outlet over the telephone. I was looking on Nike Talk and found that these were available at the outlet as B grades. B grades are shoes that have a minor flaw that are not sold to the public and are normally sent to Nike Outlet stores. When I received them, there were only minor flaws so I was thrilled with my purchase!
Jordan XI/XII Countdown Package – Christmas 2008. This was one of the craziest releases I can remember. I stayed on the computer for 4 hours before the online midnight release of these shoes, and once the clock hit midnight I frantically attempted to order them. However I was unsuccessful and was forced to try my luck at the mall the next morning. I got up at 6 and went to the mall where I was once again shut out. My size, 13, is not highly produced as some sizes, but is in high demand in many southeastern states. But, I overheard a phone call stating that the Footlocker at Northridge Shopping Center had one size 13 left and another kid and I were going for it. My dad and I raced to our car and beat them to the store by a couple of minutes and copped (bought) the last size 13! I know that kid and his mom were mad, but that’s part of the game.
Jordan XI “Space Jam” – Christmas 2009. Another highly sought after shoe because Michael Jordan wore this model in the movie Space Jam. This shoe was releasing at midnight at the Four Seasons Mall Footaction and I called the store at 7:30 PM to see if anyone was waiting in line. About 15 people were already there, so my dad and I raced to Greensboro. When we got there, he went to Finish Line to wait in line where he was 7th and I went to Footaction where I was 20th. After 4 hours of waiting in line, my dad was able to get the coveted size 13 for me, but I was unsuccessful in my line. I did, however, buy a size 12 and ended up selling them to a friend and made $60 extra bucks.
Kobe VI “Grinch” – Christmas 2010. This shoe was made popular for its bright green/yellow color scheme and was worn by Kobe Bryant in his Christmas Day game. On December 24th at midnight, I attempted to buy these from nike.com. However, they sold out within 5 minutes and I was left to either phone order from Eastbay on Christmas morning or try my luck at HOH in the mall on the 26th. I tried the Eastbay method, and at 8:00 AM on Christmas morning, I used 4 cell phones to try and get through the busy Eastbay lines. After 85 minutes of being on hold, I finally got through and ordered my size 13. All sizes were sold out by 10:00 so I was very lucky.
Jordan I “Banned” – May 2011. This release was more different than any other shoe release in Nike history. This shoe was originally set to release with features that ended up being scratched, however many pairs of the Banned I’s were already produced. So Jordan Brand decided to release these at select Nike Outlets across the country, a first for the company. Being my last semester of high school and nothing going on at school since AP Exams were over, I convinced my parents to let me skip school and stand in line for these shoes. Some sneakerheads started waiting at midnight, but I arrived at 7:30 AM for the 10:00 opening and I was around 35th in line. I was able to get my shoes and this was one of the most fun releases that I have bought.
As you can see, shoes are a passion for me and something I enjoy greatly. Some girls like to collect pocketbooks or guys collecting video games, but shoes are for me. You might wonder how I am able to afford these shoes. I have saved money from past Christmas and birthdays that I have used to invest in my kicks. My parents have also rewarded me for certain actions and successes and I want to thank them for everything they have done for me. I hope to continue collecting shoes and as I add new shoes to the collection, I will update this post. Thanks for reading and stay tuned for the next blog post!
P.S. – My dad still has a pair of original (OG) Air Jordan I’s from 1985. 26 years later and these shoes are still in his closet and in wearable condition.
Shoe Collection Stats
15 pairs of Jordan’s (I, II, 2 III’s, 2 VII’s, VIII, 3 XI’s, XII, 2 XIII’s, XXI, 2009)
17 pairs of Nike’s (3 LeBron’s, 3 Foamposites, 2 Kobe’s, Griffey’s, Pippen’s, Air Maxes, and various other retros)
1 pair of New Balance
= 33 pairs of shoes (1 not pictured)
If you pay attention to professional sports on a regular basis, you probably have an idea what I am getting ready to discuss. Josh Hamilton is an outfielder for the Texas Rangers and one of Major League Baseball’s (MLB) young superstars. Hamilton was the 2010 American League MVP and also won the batting title last year. But positive events don’t come easy for Mr. Hamilton.
Coming out of high school, Hamilton was a superb baseball player at Athens Drive High School in Raleigh. He was a clear first round pick in the upcoming 1999 draft for his 5 tool abilities (speed, hit for average, hit for power, arm strength, and fielding ability) as an outfielder; although he could throw 97 mph from the mound as a pitcher. Hamilton was the first overall pick in the 1999 draft by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays but was sidelined by injuries in his first few minor league seasons. With time to spare because of injuries, Hamilton found himself hanging out with the wrong crowd and ultimately suspended for violating the MLB drug policy. Hamilton struggled with cocaine and alcohol addiction and did not play baseball at all from 2004 to 2006, but was given another chance in 2006 by the Cincinnati Reds. Since then, Hamilton has been traded to the Texas Rangers where he has been a 4 time All-Star and in 2008, broke the single-round record in the Home Run Derby with 28, yes 28, home runs. But this week, Josh Hamilton was once again in the spotlight for negative publicity.
On Thursday, July 7th, a foul ball was hit onto the field at Rangers Ballpark and landed in the vicinity of Hamilton. Hamilton tossed the ball into the outfield bleachers where a father and his son stood; hoping they could acquire a piece of memorabilia from the game. The father, 39 year old Shannon Stone, reached for the ball as it was falling short of his glove and his momentum carried him over the fence. Stone was unable to hold on, as he tumbled 20 feet below and landed on the concrete behind the outfield wall. Less than an hour later, Stone would pass away and once again leave Hamilton with a depressing emotion. After the incident, Hamilton said that he could not clear his head of the little boy screaming for his daddy. However, less than a week later on July 9th, Hamilton hit a walk-off home run to help the Rangers beat the Oakland A’s 7-6. Hamilton was obviously emotional as he was fighting back tears during the postgame press conference. The past 48 hours have been nothing but an up-and-down rollercoaster for Hamilton, but I have confidence that he will overcome this setback.
For those of you that would like to learn more about Josh Hamilton, I strongly recommend that you read the book Beyond Belief. This book was written by Hamilton himself and details the personal problems he faced and how he was able to overcome them. This book is not only for baseball fans, but for those wanting to read an inspiring story. I have read this book and it was truly amazing to hear Josh’s story. By the way, you can thank Dylan Tickle for this entry topic. He has also read the book and I’m sure he will tell you how much he enjoyed it.
If anyone has a certain topic that they want me to discuss on here, leave a comment on my blog or by twitter @clarkbeeker24. Thanks for your time and remember to check here daily!
Josh Hamilton’s book, Beyond Belief
On Wednesday night, I participated in the 2011 Area III American Legion All-Star game at McCrary Park in Asheboro. I was very honored to be a part of the North team because I was selected by the other coaches in our division based on my performance. I was selected as a pitcher, although I feel that my hitting throughout the year was more deserving than my pitching statistics. I, Jake White (OF), and Jordan Ramsey (P) were selected from my Lexington-Davidson team but Jordan was unable to play for an incident that occurred earlier in the week. Jake and I arrived in Asheboro at 3:30 for the 7:00 game in order to take part in the pre-game festivities. Both the North and South teams took batting practice (BP) on the field and then hung out around the dugouts and talked with the guys we had been playing against earlier in the season as enemies. During BP, Brett Morgan (P) and I discussed the different innings we would like to pitch during the game, knowing that each pitcher would only throw one inning. Neither of us wanted to throw the 1st or the 9th, and I stated that I would be happy pitching the 3rd or the first half of the game. However when we returned to the dugout, the lineup card was posted and Brett was pitching the 3rd inning and I was pitching the 9th. For those unfamiliar with baseball, the 9th is the last inning and the pitcher is referred to as the closer. The closer is expected to “save” the victory for the team and must have a ton of confidence in their ability.
After BP, three players from both teams competed in the Home Run Derby and it was exciting to watch. Ryne Rush from Randolph County hit some of the farthest and highest home runs I have ever seen, but a player from Wilkes County won the contest. Also, Ramsey, teammate Zach Redmond, and friends Andy Vogler and BJ Smith came to the game unexpectedly and I’m glad they did. Finally it was game time. The game started off with a bang with most of the scoring coming in the first 3 innings and home runs from Tyler Surface and Jake Hall for our team. The pitching was very good; however there were excellent hitters from top to bottom in the lineup. I spent most of the game chatting with players on our team and I met some really cool guys. As the game crept on, the rain continued to fall and by the time I went out for the top of the 9th inning, it was a steady rainfall. At this point, the South had tied the score at 10-10 and I was counted on by all of my teammates and Northern Division teams to keep the game tied. The winner of the game would receive home-field advantage for the playoffs if two teams met with the same division records. The first batter I faced was Connor Bodenhammer from Mocksville, a player I knew very well from playing against during the high school season. I had not pitched in a week, so my arm felt really good and I gave it all I had, knowing that I would pitch only one inning. I retired Bodenhammer on a strike out, but the next two batters reached base on an error and a hit by pitch. I knew I had to bare down and get two more outs and was fortunate enough to strike out the next two batters. However, our team was unable to score in the bottom half of the inning and we had no pitchers remaining. I was set to pitch the 10th inning, but the game ended in a 10-10 tie as the rain was beginning to make the mound and the playing conditions unbearable. It wasn’t until after the game that I was informed exactly how hard I was throwing and I was very pleased with what I heard. Most fastballs I threw were clocked at 88 mph, but I topped out at 91 mph, the hardest I have ever thrown. Now that legion is over, my goal is to work even harder to improve my velocity and overall pitching before I arrive at Davidson. Speaking of Davidson, I talked with Rob Bain (P) of the South team and we will be teammates next year.
Overall, the All-Star game was a great event and I was very honored to be a part of it. Thanks for reading and stay tuned for the next write-up!
What’s up everyone! I’m sure most of y’all know me since you’re reading my first post but my name is Clark Beeker. I’m going to be a freshman next year at Davidson College (Go Wildcats!) where I will be playing baseball. Those that know me know that I have grown up a huge NC State fan and I always will be, but being able to go to a prestigious school such as Davidson is too good to pass up. I love baseball and now I will solely focus on pitching as I prepare for college (don’t worry; I was never really a good hitter anyways). Also, I’m a very avid sneaker collector since the summer of ’08 and right now I have a little more than 30 “quality” shoes to my collection. I’m not counting my beaters (everyday shoes), flip flops, or baseball shoes so who knows how many that includes. Like most teenagers, I enjoy hanging out with my friends, watching TV, and doing normal fun activities. I have a younger brother, Cole, and have the best family and friends a guy could ask for. Well thanks for reading my first article and hopefully you will visit my site daily for the latest in my life. Stay classy everyone!
P.S. – I’m new to this whole blogging thing so give me a week or two to figure everything out. Also, follow me on Twitter (clarkbeeker24) or add me on Facebook if you have not already. Thanks!