Category Archives: footbag

Kicking at the Mizzou Rec Center

It seems amazing that my winter membership at Mizzou Rec is already almost halfway over. It took me awhile to get a media pass to start filming myself there. Since then, I’ve had camera problems, and other distractions that have kept me from posting. But finally, here’s a 2-month roundup of Rec Center Footbag videos for you!

The Rec center has approached me to ask if they can do a blog post on me. Not sure if that will still happen, but stay tuned I will let you know for sure if do!

Thanks for tuning in!

The Health Report, 2016 edition

Good news is, it’s mostly good! It’s been more than a year since I gave up on the Medical Industrial Complex for solutions to my chronic health problems, and implemented my own program of footbag as physical therapy. It’s been working. It’s been working infinitely better than anything the M.I.C. has done. I can walk again.

I still have problems with my ankle, for sure. If I step wrong, it still hurts. There are lots of activities that I’m still afraid to do because I think it would hurt my ankle again. I still have some fluid retention in my left foot. But still, it’s better. It rarely hurts while I’m kicking anymore, and again, I can walk mostly without pain too. That’s a big difference from a year ago.

Since getting a membership at Mizzou Rec Center, I’ve been doing a lot more solo kicking than usual. Lance runs off to go ski with his buddies in Colorado; I sweat over torques and drifters in the racquetball courts, squash court, or if I’m lucky during break when not many students are around, in one of the main gymnasiums (LOVE the space!). But, the solo shred sessions are testing my limits. It seems like 3 sessions a week is about all I can do without over-stressing my body. I feel like I’m getting stronger; I’m hitting more, more difficult moves again. Yet somehow, I’m still really struggling to put it all together.  There’s some component of balance, or power, or a little of both, that still eludes me.

While my ankle continues to improve, my knees seem to be getting worse again. That’s probably to be expected given the sudden surge of solo shredding I’ve been doing. I’m considering the platelet injection therapy, it’s still just way too expensive for me, and insurance still won’t cover it. I’ve been having more difficulty with my “weak” side moves because my right knee just doesn’t bend very far before it starts hurting.

The rest of me is mostly better too. I’ve still got serous work-stress issues to deal with, but I’ve been very diligent about leaving work behind when I leave. I ride my bike a lot more. I play Hacky Sack lot more. I care about work a lot less, I never look at work emails when I’m off. Doing this makes me feel better, both mentally and physically.

My back, which I still believe is a crux of all my other physical issues, is marginally better. I’m having some really strange issues with muscle cramps in my legs, especially at night, that feel associated with my back problems, but I’ve been able to manage that with careful sleeping habits.

Not much else to blog on the health front, just the life of a slowly aging, lifelong athlete. Rest assured, I’m not going down without a fight.

Welcome to the New Year: 2015 Reconciliation, and 2016 Goals

Yeah, a new year. So… what did I set out to accomplish a year ago, and how did I do?

  1. Be nicer, kinder, and more engaging with black people. I tried, but I don’t really know how I did. I think I did better, but I have no real feedback mechanism. A black Twitter correspondent told me that wasn’t enough, that I had to be courageous and provide real pushback against my white racist compadres.
  2. 72 hours footbag. I completely lost count, but I know I’m way up over 100 hours. SUCCESS! I had a good year. I used footbag as my therapy to recover from chronic ankle problems. That therapy has worked infinitely better than anything the Medical Industrial Complex had to offer me.
  3. 5,000 Km on the bike. Final tally: 8,285 Km. Like footbag, I had a really good year on my bike. SUCCESS! This is farther than I’ve ridden in a single year for at least 12 years, possibly 15.
  4. Bring online. 2nd year in a row FAIL. Still a faceless pipe dream. Dream on…
  5. Get another new job. Again, a major FAIL. I’ve applied for everything I can find that I’m even remotely qualified for. But, I’ve only landed a couple interviews, and only one that to final candidate. That one, I go so close. But, in the end, nothing.  Too old, too specialized a skill set at this point. This has been by far the biggest disappointment for me in 2015.
  6. Complete my blog analysis project. Yeah, just another pipe dream FAIL, thinking I’d do this, or thinking anyone might care if I did.

Realistically, these are the exact results I should expect: The things I love, the things I can do by myself without any significant interaction or reliance on other human beings – i.e. footbag and bicycling – I did really well at. Excellent, in fact. Two of the three great conflicts – Man vs. Self, and Man vs. Nature – I’ve got those, and I know it. The other things I can mostly do on my own, but take a lot of time and work and don’t give me the immediate joy and satisfaction that the bike and the bag do, I just… didn’t get to.

Then, anything that requires significant interaction, cooperation, or any kind of any reliance on another human being – Man vs. Man – almost always ends in dismal, miserable failure for me. The evidence is obvious, I’m just not a team player. Instead, I’m an exceptional individual. I have a lot of “near spectrum disorder” social behaviors, which tend to manifest around food, and dealing with other people. Don’t expect me to apologize or try to conform; I’ve long since come to the conclusion that I’m perfectly fine. It’s the rest of society that has the problem.

This is one of the reasons I like being out in nature so much more than being around other human beings. Other human beings always have some bias, some hidden agenda; that ever-present back-stab somewhere, to someone. In contrast, nature is completely open and honest. It can be brutal, and sometimes even very selective, but… it’s not personal. It’s never personal. Nature never consciously decides to treat one person better or worse than another. Humans do.

So, what do I want to achieve for 2016?

  1. 8,000 Km on the bike. I did it last year. I want to do it again this year. Ironically, it’s a somewhat hollow “victory” to have ended up riding that much last year. Many times, the only reason I’ve ridden my bike is because when I get angry about all the bullshit in my life (almost all job-related), it’s often the only activity I can do that takes enough use of my body to keep me from committing some kinds of destructive or violent act. But, if I have to ride because it’s my anger therapy, I will ride. I will ride a lot. I will ride more than ever. I LOVE TO RIDE MY BIKE! 
  2. 120+ hours of footbag. I’m almost certain I did that much or more last year, and want to be way over 120 again this year. Hacky Sack is my personal well of emotional and spiritual refreshment. Barring injury, I will kick a LOT this year. I bought a winter membership to the Rec center, and I’ve been kicking 3-4 hours a week this winter so far. Prognosis looks good. I LOVE TO PLAY HACKY SACK!
  3. Get a new job. Failure at this last year was by far the biggest disappointment in my life, and continues to be the source of virtually all my unhappiness, anger, sorrow, and likely a lot of the chronic health problems I’m experiencing. I used to love my job, but… I don’t any more. The atmosphere has become poisonous: all negativity, reproach, poor communications, misunderstandings, persistent conflicts and turf wars both internally and externally, way too much chaos and last-minute crises, willful disregard of company policy, and a host of oppressive, unevenly applied, seemingly psychotic reactions and policy implementations, almost all of them either punishment-oriented towards employees, or turf-war conflicts with other business units. I fully admit to being an integral part of the poison at this point; you can’t spend your life swimming in the shit without absorbing it and becoming poisonous yourself. I Just. Want. Out. I’ve gotten lost, and I need help finding my way out. Please? I’ve come to the realization that my current skill set – everything AudioVisual – is a dead-end. There’s exactly one job in this town that needs that skill set, I’ve got that job, and… I don’t want it anymore. Not that I don’t like the work, but having such a unique skill set makes me way too vulnerable to changes in the workplace I have no control over. I’m planning to get as many other more commonly sought networking, database, and server admin tech skill certifications as possible this year, and bring those to the table the next time I can land an interview.
  4. Continue to believe, and state, that Black Lives Matter. Do my best to live up to the challenge laid down by my Twitter correspondent. There’s no set goal here, and little ability to measure effect of effort, but this is important to me.
  5. All the other same crap as last year, but… realize they aren’t really that important, comparatively. Priorities are footbag, bicycling, and job. If I get to anything else, I’ll call it a bonus.

Sorry I can’t be more positive and upbeat. My cycling and footbag are such incredibly joyful, happy, fulfilling things in my life. I plan to focus my time in 2016 doing those things that bring my joy, happiness, and a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. My job, in stark contrast, has become such a disappointing, depressing, demoralizing nightmare. I will continue to work towards, and hope to find, a new, better job.

I’ve got a lot more stuff to blog about soon. In the meantime, thanks for tuning in!


The Gospel of Hacky Sack

by Benjamin Kochuyt

The Gospel of Hack

A medley of shouts ring out across the connecting streets of Speaker’s Circle. From a distance, their message is indiscernible. But on closer inspection, the hostility becomes quite clear.

Opposing groups lash out in spurts, competing in a chaotic volley of ideals, both vying for the upper hand, searching for a way to publicly embarrass the other into submission and acceptance. One man stands in front of a group of students, reading from the Bible, randomly choosing passersby to insult. The students who stop join the mob of their peers that are already engaged in attempts to bully the preacher into silence.

One man, however, seems to have a different approach to spreading his message. Standing in his own corner of Speakers Circle, clothed in nothing but worn down sneakers and some small red shorts, his thin limbs flourish with an uncanny grace for someone who is 52 years old.

Derrick Fogle is Columbia’s infamous “Hack Man,” and he prefers to speak with a beanbag rather than words.


Fogle has been playing Hacky Sack (also known as footbag) at Speakers Circle for nearly 20 years, which has made him somewhat of an urban legend on the MU campus. Every week, he gathers up his iPod, speaker, camera and hacky sacks for a trip to campus. He plays for as long as he feels like it and then packs up and heads home, simple as that. He doesn’t make the trip so that he can talk, even though its called Speakers Circle. He simply goes there to be seen doing what he loves.

“Hacky Sack cleans my soul,” Fogle siad, “It makes me feel beautiful (…) I want everyone to know they can share that joy.”

He means it, too. Fogle has been promoting the sport since he was 17, when his older brother exposed him to it in the mountains of Colorado. Ever since then, Hacky Sack has shaped Fogle’s life in dramatic ways. Looking back, Fogle said Hacky Sack saved his life.

“I wanted to get good, so I left all that stuff like soft drugs and petty vandalism behind me,” he said. “[Hacky Sack] has been the foundation for my entire skill set and my success.”

Success has been plentiful in Fogle’s life, too. He has two children, a 17-year-old son and a 20-year-old daughter whom he said he loves abundantly. He also has a wife of 29 years and a career working with computers that allowed him to see some of the first PCs and Macs to ever roll off the assembly line. Besides that, Fogle is an avid environmentalist. He loves to bike, and over the course of his life in Columbia, he has biked over 150,000 miles that he would have otherwise driven in a car. Still, he attributes nearly all of his work ethic and success to his career as the “Hack Man.”


Fogle spent most of his early career in the Kansas City area, where he began to organize tournaments for other hacky sack players and even started a hacky sack club. Before he had Speakers Circle, he religiously practiced his skills at JC Nichols Fountain in Kansas City. His main focus for the first 14 years of his career was promoting the sport to those who had never been exposed to it and competing in world championships. It was at these international contests that he met one of his fiercest competitors, Scott Davidson, who claims to hold the current world record for the most days consecutively playing footbag. He said he hasn’t missed a day in the last 11-and-a-half years.

“Derrick is one of the rare old-school players who is stull playing,” Davidson said. “His years of running footbag tournaments brought exposure to the sport throughout the Midwest and introduced many players to the sport throughout the years.”

Fogle’s dedication made him one of the top competitors in the world and even got him accepted into the Footbag Hall of Fame in 2005. However, as the sport began to grow, Fogle said he began to see a paradigm shift that put him at odds with the rest of the footbag community.

“It started to only be about the competition,” he said. “We had turned our backs on the base of what the sport was.”

Fogle, who first fell in love with footbag because of its friendly and non-judgmental atmosphere, said that the sport went through a long phase where that atmosphere began dying.

“It was killing the sport,” he said. “I wanted to get back to my roots (…) so I decided to stop competing.”

Because of that decision, Fogle said he fell out of favor with many of his longtime friends who disagreed on how to advance the sport. But, he was unmoving in his philosophy. He said he knew hacky sack was a sport rooted in pushing boundaries and coming together, not avoiding mistakes and chasing conformity.

Full Circle

Now, Fogle’s focus is completely centered on spreading the lessons he has learned from Hacky Sack to those who will listen. One such person is Lance Doughman, a senior at MU who likes to join Fogle at Speakers Circle. He pointed to the Hack Man as a huge reason why he still plays Hacky Sack.

“[If I hadn’t met Derrick] I probably wouldn’t have played on a regular basis at all.”

The Hack Man sees himself as an antithesis to the “hate preachers” who regularly advocate for their religious beliefs at Speakers Circle.

“It doesn’t matter what you find salvation in,” Fogle said. “Everyone finds it differently. But I found mine in Hacky Sack. I just want people to see that if you work hard enough and you really sink yourself into something, you can succeed. Everyone can have this joy.”

Fogle said he wants to continue spreading the gospel of hack for as long as his body will let him – not with his words, but with his quiet meticulousness and flowing grace. So next time you see him, take a minute to watch him tell you all the things he doesn’t need to say.