John Lollar has been kicking high since he was 11. People noticed it, sure, but his unorthodox pitching routine was nothing more than that -- a routine.
That changed this week, though, when a photo of Lollar at peak wind-up hit the Internet. In the picture, which he says was taken Tuesday, the Murray State pitcher is more or less doing the splits standing up.
Lollar, a 6-1 sophomore, is aware the look is a bit extreme. But as he explains, he’s just trying to do what works for him.
"My dad always told me to do whatever felt natural and whatever came easy for me," Lollar says. "I try to emulate guys like Nolan Ryan and he had a pretty good leg kick, too."
Soon after the photo of Lollar was posted online, he started getting mentioned and shared elsewhere. Media outlets started picking up his photo: Bleacher Report. MLB Network. Even ESPN SportsCenter did a small spot on him.
Lollar says his phone was "blowing up" for a 24-hour period. He was famous overnight for something he saw as perfectly ordinary.
He says the high leg kick has been subjected to comments and playful ribbing from teammates and opponents in the past, but it never caused him to question his motion or reconsider his playing style.
But the next time he takes the mound, he might at least be thinking about the kick -- and wondering what others are thinking. All the national attention has been a fun ride for Lollar, but he isn’t sure what to expect the next time he walks out on the field.
"I hadn't really thought about [how people would react]," Lollar says. "But yeah, I guess it will be on my mind. I hadn’t really thought about how I'd be perceived."