Walk by Speakers Circle on the MU campus on a weekday around noon, and there’s a high chance of seeing a shirtless guy playing hacky sack.
While many know him as “The Old Shirtless Speakers Circle Hacky Sack Man,” his real name is Derrick Fogle. When he moved to Columbia, Missouri, from Kansas City, Missouri, around 23 years ago, he started playing at the circle. However, foot bag, as it is officially titled, goes further back than the circle for Fogle.
The first time he played was at a party in Colorado when he was 17. There was a group of guys outside of a house playing, and he joined in. At first, he wasn’t very good. Fogle said he’s not naturally physically talented, but he fell in love with the sport. Nobody cared if you messed up; you were playing to have fun, and that’s what he loved.
Once he started to develop better foot bag skills, he went into the competitive realm, and won his first tournament in freestyle. Then, he started competing more.
“As a teen, I didn’t really have any direction,” Fogle said. “Foot bag gave me direction; it gave me this thing to work at. I worked at it, and I started getting better at it. It’s really the thing in my life that taught me the value of hard work.”
The work he put in didn’t go unnoticed, and Fogle began to ‘wow’ people at the competitive level.
“Derrick is one of those guys that has got that tireless energy for the sport,” said Bruce Guettich, cofounder of the World Footbag Association.
Fogle credits the life lessons he has learned to foot bag. It taught him dedication, persistence and allowed for him to enjoy the outcome. To Fogle, it was more than a game; it was his salvation. It also taught him to overcome obstacles.
“There will always be people who try to get in between you and what you love, and you have to learn to overcome that,” Fogle said.
Thirty-five years since the first time he started playing hacky, he still is, and loves every minute of it.
Guettich said Fogle loves the sport so much, that he wants to share it with everyone.
“Derrick was one of those guys that just enjoyed the fun of foot bag so much, that he wanted to share that with others, and still does to this day,” Guettich said.
Clint, one of Fogle’s children, said Fogle’s passion for the sport is inspiring.
“I’ve always wanted to be that devoted to something, put in enough hours to get good at it like he has,” Clint said.
The many hours of work Fogle put into the sport, was made easier by his passion for it.
“All this work I’ve put into foot bag is this love I’ve shown myself my whole life,” Fogle said. “When I come out here, it’s like that love, that joy, that spiritual fulfillment comes over me.”
Fogle said he hopes others can find an endeavor that brings them the same kind of joy … that they will find something they love, and stick with it.