Athleticism can be defined as physical qualities that are characteristics of athletes, such as strength, fitness and agility. When combining those attributes with knowledge that coincides specifically with a gift you get a surface level of genius. At each level of growth within the hierarchies of sports athletes have leeway to display and improve said talents or gifts.
Through rigorous training regiments, discipline of self, as well as body, athletes sculpt themselves to be known as some of the greatest individuals to take to the court, the filed, the gymnasium, etc.
To understand the mind of a true athlete is to know what drives them. Kahlee Hamler, better known as KJ Hamler, is a native of Pontiac, MI. With a genuine love for the game of football KJ begin his journey out of pure passion which soon made its way to discipline. In all that you do, enjoyment is the key to your success. With such enjoyment, comes a fuel often known as passion, and that passion, when managed becomes a disciplined gift that will open doors for you.
In search of a bigger challenges that would entice his curiosity and love for the game KJ joined Pontiac Youth Sports. During his early stages of development, there were indications he understood this game and the complexities of such at a level far beyond his peers. In knowing that, you soon knew that it is imperative to apply pressure.
Dominance is often displayed when athletes are intertwined amongst those who love the game for other reasons, such as enjoyment without intentional trajectory. It was not long before it was obvious that the initial challenges faced by Hamler were not enough for him. Fast forwarding through an amazing display of athletics over the course of a career start KJ soon found himself as a high school student at the Infamous Orchard Lake St. Mary’s Preparatory High School. This is a school known for its dynamic sports program and excelling student athletes on and off the field. As a two-year letterman for the school KJ Hamler was often seen making several highlights against every team they played. With amazing line speed that immediately creates separation it was just a matter of time and further development that we would see the gift this young man possessed. Such speed, and agility, backed by understanding of his position allowed KJ to contribute to St. Mary’s state title teams for two seasons.
Deciding to finish his senior year with yet a greater challenge to expand his skill set, KJ paid a visit to IMG academy in Bradenton, FL. IMG is a preparatory boarding school as well as a sports training destination. Riddled with uncertainty about leaving his hometown, his family and his friends KJ would soon find comfort in the football program as well as the dynamics of the school in general. It was this move that would ultimately place more eyes on the soon to be, even more polished wide receiver.
With adversity behind this young man, and a bright future within his reach, its preseason game day for IMG Academy and their opponents are Carol City (Miami). With anticipation building to see the speed we have all heard so much about suddenly the tables have turned. In an unfortunate twist of events KJ Hamler has hurt himself resulting in a torn ACL and will have to sit out his entire senior year. For an athlete who loves the game, any injury preventing them from exercising their gift is a bummer but imagine something so threating to your gift you now have more to prove!
Hamler, torn ACL and all, stayed determined to not only work his way through mental injury, but physical as well. With several offers from a plethora of colleges, Hamler would soon find himself as a redshirt freshman for Penn State making him a Nittany Lion. After working through injury to prep himself for his college debut it had been 742 days since Hamler suffered the crucial ACL tear and was seen on the field.
It was this very moment, and this very game against Appalachian State where Hamler would run down a 46-yard catch in which we were reintroduced to that speed we have all known him for. Turning injury into motivation Hamler would go on to make his name solidified in the Big Ten Conference. In his freshman year as a Nittany Lion Hamler Rec. 42 catches for a total of 754 yards, averaging 18.0.
It was apparent he had a love for the game so deep, that there was plenty to prove and he wanted to make sure we knew that. In his second year for Penn State, KJ receptions increased to 56, his yards increased to 904 and his avg was 16.1. When looking at a two-year timespan in terms of a college career Hamler has a total of 98 Rec. for a total of 1658 Yards total.
If you would, during this timeframe, let us go over some additional stats that will further confirm his athleticism. In 2018 as a freshman he broke the record for all-purpose yards by Saquon Barkley. He Also ranks 6th in the school history with a total of 523 kickoff return yards. Opting to enter the NFL Draft in 2020, KJ Hamler was faced with the reality that every child who picks up a football dreams of! Drafted in the 2nd round by the Denver Broncos KJ Hamler is now on the biggest stage possible as a wide receiver who the world now knows and fell in love with.
So, when you ask me what is an athlete? An athlete is a vessel of talent, both physically and mentally that has an unprecedented amount of discipline and passion for a sport. An athlete is someone willing to sculpt and mold their body to be the best, as it pertains to competing within their respected gift or field. An athlete is always a machine pumped and primed, despite weather, direct injury, or any other obstacles thrown in their way. An athlete is a superhuman, with the mental space to think, and perform at a higher capacity through a disciplined and managed skill set.
It has been proven time over and time again that determination, discipline, alongside of sheer willingness to push boundaries will reward such diligence with the greatest opportunities ever. To see someone overcome injury and manifest a dream to a reality is simply amazing. So, when you ask me what an athlete is, through all the trails and tribulations I present to you Kahlee Hamler, number 13, Wide Receiver for the Denver Broncos.