This is part of a series called “Outside of the game.” Other featured BYU student athletes are Erica Owens, Kyle Rose, Brock Whitney, Taryn Lewis and Ben Patch. The complete, interactive iBook is available for free in the iBookstore.
Long before he put on his BYU football helmet, Adam Hine wore a different kind as he rode around La Verkin, Utah, with his bicycle gang. They’d congregate after elementary school and then get busy building jumps out of the dirt.
Hine, a running back on BYU’s football team, put great effort into football, track and basketball while he was growing up. However, he also made time for a different kind of sport — BMX.
“I had a really nice bike that I got for Christmas one year,” Hine said. “But I guess I’d say I misbehaved a little bit, so my dad sold it. So I was heartbroken.”
His friends ended up putting together a bike for him, and ten-year-old Hine and his buddies hit the pavement and the dirt. He and the others started out popping wheelies down the street and competing to see who could pop them the fastest.
“A lot of times it was for fun, but it got a little competitive,” Hine said. “Every day we pushed each other more and more.”
Hine eventually began developing his bike-trick repertoire by watching his friends and videos of BMX greats like Dave Mirra and Ryan Nyquist. He watched the pros and then went out and tried to do the tricks on his own.
“Once you start landing those tricks, there’s nothing that feels better,” Hine said. “It feels really good to fly in the air.”
Major wipeouts, scraped-up shins and a sprained ankle kept Hine somewhat cautious because of his commitments in other sports. However, he remained undaunted and developed abilities that he took from the dirt jumps to the football field. Hine said he learned concentration and how to not be scared of doing things he hadn’t done before.
Hine’s best friend and go-to jump constructor since ninth-grade football camp, Alex Liberatore, revealed just how well rounded Hine is. He is a talented ceramicist, a master of nunchucks, a gutsy cliff jumper and an occasional break-dancer. But above all, Hine is an undaunted and committed person in whatever he does.
“He’s the most humble kid that you’ll ever meet,” Liberatore said. “There are so many things he’s good at and no one has a clue.”
Hine’s focus and fearlessness helped him earn a spot on the BYU football roster after being a three-year letter winner at Snow Canyon High School and making the All-State First Team. He also lettered four times in track and was the three-time long and high jump state champion.
“A lot of skills can transfer over — just being fearless and going for it,” Hine said. “I didn’t land the backflip the first time I tried it, and it’s the same thing with football. You try new things; you hit the hole a little bit harder sometimes; you get a concussion maybe … you just have to go hard.”
Hine kept BMXing through high school and practiced his tricks with consistency and without discouragement.
“I really like the 360, but everybody’s favorite is the backflip,” Hine said. “The backflip’s the most difficult really, but once you get the hang of it, it’s your favorite trick. You get up, you whip your head back, you whip the bike back and you can actually spot your landing the whole time. Then you just pull your bike in front of you and land and keep going and hit the next whoop-de-dos.”
Liberatore said Hine came into their high school ceramics class one day and said something like, “I think I want to try to land a backflip on my bike today.” So his buddies helped him build a jump over by his house. According to Liberatore, Hine landed the backflip a few YouTube videos, about eight crashes and two days later.
“Fear is not existent in Adam Hine’s body,” Liberatore said. “He even bent a pair of handlebars. They went into his stomach, but he just bent them because of his muscles when he probably should have been like a shish kebab. He got new handlebars going, and then a couple jumps later he threw the backflip.”
Hine’s intrepidity and persistence in BMX crossed over into not only football but also other aspects of life.
“It’s just like, same thing with life,” Hine said. “If you want to do something, you just have to put your mind to it. There’s nothing holding you back. Even if you’ve got critics saying this or that, just go for it.”
Hine plans to do just that this upcoming season of football. An injury kept him on the sidelines for most of 2012, but 2013 looks promising, and Hine is already making a splash at spring practices.