During the ParaLong Drive Nationals, in the fourth round, Brendon became the first leg amputee to surpass the 400-yard barrier with a 401-yard drive. Brendon and Jared met in a championship extra round with everything at stake when Jared unleashed his record-setting drive.
Mesquite NV Athletics News asked Jared a few questions about his experience. Here is that conversation on May 14, 2014:
MSQ : What was your mindset coming into the Nationals competition in Mesquite?
Jared: I really just hoped that my shoulder would hold up throughout the day. I had been diagnosed with Bicep Tendonitis just 10 days before the competition. So there was no practicing during the offseason for me. Matter of fact, my first official practice day was on the Tuesday the week of the competition. I was also really excited about seeing Brendon (Jacks) and hanging out with him. We have kept in touch almost daily since we met and I definitely look at him as an older brother. Anytime I come to these events, I am thrilled about the competition, but I am even more excited about watching the other competitors and making new friends.
MSQ: What were your goals? What did you expect at the Nationals event?
Jared: I really just wanted to focus on keeping my shoulder as loose as possible throughout the day. I felt like if I could do that, then I would have a chance. I honestly did not know how my shoulder would respond to 6-8 hours of competition, so I didn’t have much expectation…besides just trying to do the best I could. I knew that if Brendon and I met in the finals and he caught one just right that it was going to be extremely tough to beat. So I just wanted to focus on staying loose and doing the best I could and just let the chips fall where they may.
MSQ: When Brendon became the first to go over 400 yards, what were you thinking?
Jared: My first thought was “Thank God it wasn’t in the finals and it wasn’t against me, ha-ha.” I was extremely happy one of us finally broke the 400-yard barrier. When I went after him in that round, I was really trying to “pound” the ball due to my competitive nature. I felt some pressure to get over the 400-yard mark. I must have hit 3 or 4 balls out of bounds before I regrouped and started making better swings. I really gained my confidence when I hit 399 twice. I knew I could drive the ball over 400, I had done it multiple times in practice, I just needed to get it done in competition.
MSQ: You and Brendon seem like fierce competitors on the tee box, but good friends after you hit. Can you talk about that?
Jared: I look at him like an older brother. Every time we tee it up, I always give him a hug and tell him, “I love him.” He is always telling me “let’s put on a good show.”
We both come from a sports background and that drives both of us, but when we are out there, I am probably his biggest fan and supporter--next to his wife of course. I also have the upmost respect for him and I know I better bring my A-game if I want to hang with him on the tee box. Plus, I know we haven’t reached our full potential yet. He and I both have jobs that require us to be available 24/7. Brendon and I both work a tremendous amount each week. On top of his job, he also has kids, and is always talking about all of their weekly activities/sports they are involved in. We both joke at each other about finding time to sleep. I can only imagine the numbers we could put up if we had the opportunity to follow a practice regiment. Yet he still encourages me to make time and I do the same for him. You won’t find a better friend and person, I can tell you that.
MSQ: How do you feel about hitting off the same tee box at the Mesquite Sports & Event Complex that RE/MAX champions have?
Jared: It’s such a surreal feeling when you’re out there. It really hit me last year watching the RE/MAX competitors hitting there on the Golf Channel. I was extremely proud to be able to sit there and know I have hit on that same grid. Not too many people can say that.
MSQ : What makes Mesquite, Nevada a unique place to be "Home of Long Drive"?
Jared: I think you said it perfectly...It is the most state of the art facility for Long Drive Competitions in the world--hands-down. Basketball has Madison Square Garden, Tennis has Wimbledon, Baseball has Fenway Park (I am biased of course, my brother is playing for the Red Sox Organization) and Long Drive “IS” Mesquite.