Life Lessons, retired sneakerhead, sneakerhead, sneakers

8:38 pm 1/21/15

Sneakers have the dubious title of being my first love. I’ve always had a knack for being funny, being the class clown came natural to me so I don’t call it a love. I’m wired this way. And these days, at age 33, my kids are my most important love. But sneakers will always be my first.

I can’t remember how it all started. My older brother used to send me kicks and other gifts when he was in the military. My dad used to always make sure my sneakers were fresh to start the school year. Check my 2nd grade class picture, Mr. Hodges had the foresight to position me in camera view so my Jordan’s could show. Maybe he knew what was up LOL.

Nike Air Shake Ndestrukt. One of the first shoes I truly went crazy over.

Nike Air Shake Ndestrukt. One of the first  shoes I truly went crazy over.

The first time I remember going crazy  over a shoe was in ’96 when the Dennis  Rodman “Air Ndestruct” came out. My  best friend Jason and I absolutely had to  have that shoe. Our lives and our  reputations depended on it. I begged my  parents, I did every chore around the  house. I was literally the perfect teenager in  the weeks leading up to that shoe being  in stores. I remember my stepmother taking me up to the mall before church to get my pair. The fact that I got an Adventist woman to break the Sabbath to purchase a pair of sneakers for her son lets you know just how badly I had to have this shoe.

Another shoe that I vividly remember was the Air Max ’96. Come to think of it, we might as well proclaim ’96 as my breakout year for sneakers! It’s been almost 20 years and I am still sour that I never owned this shoe. Me being the big mouth bragging kid that I was had basically told everyone who would listen that I was going to wear a Minnesota Vikings “Cris Carter” jersey with these Air Max to school coming back from winter break of the 96-97 school year.nike-air-max-96 I remember going with my 2 younger sisters Erika and Traci and little brother Devin who would’ve only been 6 at the time to Foot Locker in Lafayette Square Mall in Indianapolis. It had to be at Lafayette Square because at that time in Indy that’s where all the cool kids, or at least all the cool black kids, shopped.  We walked in Foot Locker and started looking around, well everyone except me, I headed straight to these shoes. I snatched them off the wall and turned to the salesman like “Yo, can I get a 9.5 please ? (my best 15 year old in the store with his entire family voice)” As I was reaching to set the shoe back on the wall Mr. Large (my dad LOL) managed to catch a glance at the price tag. I think they were somewhere around $130-$150 and he flipped. “Like HELL are you gonna wear a shoe that’s more than the utility bill”. “When you start paying for lights, then you can buy a damn $130 pair of gym shoes”. “You don’t even play sports son. I’m not paying $130 for a shoe you are gonna wear during a 45 minute PE class” While the salesman was trying his best to hold his laugh, and I tried to hide my embarrassment, all my loving mother could do was smile and try to find me something else. There was no way she was getting this one past my dad.

Thanks for traveling with me down memory lane. Today, I had a pretty frustrating morning, and I needed to clear my head. I remember’d that a pair of Jordan’s came out today so I jumped out of bed and decided to go to the mall and get that old energy back. I’m a retired sneakerhead now, that’s the term I give myself because I no longer fiend for sneakers. I still love the feeling of having on a fresh pair, but I am no longer gonna make dumb decisions when I don’t have the means to do so. Nor will I buy “every” pair just to be one of the cool kids. These last couple years I have purchased only the pairs I truly liked, and could actually afford.

Oreo-4s-On-FeetI do want to thank the guys I saw at the mall this morning. It was cool to shake hands with the homies I hadn’t seen in awhile. People shocked to see me on the scene on a “Jordan morning”. “Tee I thought you gave the game up” was the sentence of the day LOL! It felt good walking into the stores and seeing who still had a size 9.5 and who didn’t. “The chase” as us sneakerheads call it. The pair that came out today, Oreo Jordan 4, was I pair I really wanted back in the day but never actually picked up. Today would’ve been a great time to grab a pair from my childhood but when I tried the shoe on, I felt like I had grown up. I felt like the old dude in a young man’s game. I realized I didn’t love the shoe. I didn’t like how it looked on my foot. I watched as one guy after another threw down $207 (after tax) for their pair, and seeing sale after sale would sometimes sway me to go ahead because I didn’t want to look left out. But this morning I just laughed and told myself, and the store manager that I was passing on them.

I did one last lap around the mall, made small talk with a few more guys who “assumed” I already had my pair in the car. I told them I passed on today’s shoe, that I really just came to chill and be one of the guys again. A couple people asked about my collection and I told them it was so thin now it was almost embarrassing. What was once a near 400 pair collection (2006 – 2009) before I started giving away and selling on eBay, is probably now maybe 100 pairs. For those of you not into kicks, your probably like “100 pair…what kinda crazy” LOL… but for those that know me, they know I have come a long way!

We all grow up in different ways and at different speeds. My sneaker addiction was a part my growing process. To be mature enough to know when to pass on a pair due to my money being funny, or just because I was only buying them out of hype, was a major step. On top of that at this stage of life there is more to accomplish. I have friends that have owned 2 houses, cars and vacations by now and I am talking about standing in line and fighting over some dang leather and rubber stitched together?

Sneakers have given me great memories and even greater friends. I’m not done buying them either. Hell I have a tattoo on my left arm that says “I’m a breath of fresh air, in a fresh pair” so the love  will forever be real. From now on I’m just prioritizing.

This was fun, see ya’ll next time.


9:28 pm 1/21/15