Over his four years of high school, and through his fierce commitment to excel both academically and athletically, Snow Canyon Warrior, Parker Jenkins, has set himself apart from the masses. The man is full of integrity, dedication and displays a level of character so rarely found among those of any age. Life is his game and he respects every aspect.
“I have always wanted to do well, to do my very best at everything. I don’t believe there is any other way to live,” says Parker.
Dedicated to the sport he loves Parker knows his difficult second place finish in the State Championship to Juan Diego will be one that sticks with him for many years to come. Grateful to have had the opportunity to compete, Parker has a deep respect for the first place Soaring Eagles. “They are an incredible team. We worked hard to get to state and this was the very first year we made it that far,” shares Parker. “The game was really intense and we were glad we did so well. Would have been great to win it all but they are a tough team to beat.”
With both teams making their first trip to the finals, history was being made either way, and with a 1-0 finish, the excitement and passion was felt by everyone on and off the field. “It was a bit of chaos in the first half but in the second half we were attacking them relentlessly and we could see they were getting tired. We just couldn’t get one to go in though.”
Growing up in Southern Utah Parker is one of four children in the Jenkins household. With an older, Chase, brother who is currently serving an LDS Mission in Argentina and two younger sisters, Mallory and Abigail Parker appreciates the closeness his family shares. Already following in his brother’s footsteps, Parker is set to leave and serve on an LDS Mission to Ecuador.
Set to leave in September the young soccer player is looking forward to this new chapter in his life. “I am really excited. I am stoked! I really am. I am going Spanish speaking. I took two years of Spanish in high school but we will see how far that gets me.”
Learning and reflecting on his high school experience, his four-year, his athletics, the challenges and successes, Parker knows he is well prepared and is quite optimistic about his future. “My coach was telling me that because I was going on an mission that a couple of colleges do not want to push on me because I am leaving. But he also said that Snow College and Westminster College are interested. I would absolutely love to play soccer when I get home from my mission but more important than anything else, I know that because of all that I have learned,” says Parker, “I am confident that things will work out. You play hard, you train hard, you work hard and things always work out for the best.”
“I have had three coaches in the last four years of my high school career.” Looking back on how his sports will prepare him for his mission, “honestly my last year was the best because I learned so much. Not necessarily soccer but we were a team that was not very disciplined. When something didn’t go our way we argued about it. That was actually how Juan Diego scored on us in the finals. The big thing we needed to learn as a team was discipline. I had always told myself that after watching my brother growing up, I needed to be the hardest one working out there. If the coach told us to sprint the 50 yards, I was going to sprint the 50, then sprint even more. That has always been my attitude about it. So as I prepare to go on my mission, I know that hard work and discipline are going to be a very important part of my preparation. I have always tried to put that in my play and know that it will be the biggest part of my life on my mission.”
Having embraced the importance of learning and growing through your surroundings, Parker is appreciative of the lessons he learned from his coaches through his time at Snow Canyon. “When you understand what the coaches mean by ‘keeping your head up and always move forward’ it makes so much of a difference.” Certainly the philosophy instilled by Parker’s coaches will serve him well beyond graduation.
“A quote I have always loved,” shares Parker, “is one that I feel also goes long with my size. It kind of shares my thoughts on why I work so hard and its; ‘It’s not about the size of the dog in the fight but it’s about the size of the fight in the dog.’ I feel this goes with how hard I have always worked and my passion.”
Watching her son grow up through the years competing at such an intense pace has been exciting for Jillian Jenkins. She has not only loved watching her son play but more importantly loved watching her son grow into the man he is becoming. “Parker has always stayed true to himself. It has always been about his morals, his beliefs, who it is he needs to be. It has never wavered from that and you can see that in the friends he chooses to hang out with and you can see that on the field. Everything he does, he is always true to himself and it does not matter what anyone else is doing or what anyone else is thinking. Parker knows what he wants and where he is going. He has goals and he is going to meet those goals and nothing will stand in his way.”
Having set the pattern for his life as a young child Parker has lived up to his goals of living his best self. What makes this so natural for him is his ability to see the bigger picture for himself and his ability to understand the impacts of each decision he makes. Knowing where he wants to be, where he would like to end up, he weighs his choices carefully.
“He thinks to himself, if this is going to get me that,” says Jillian about her son’s thought patterns, “then that is what I am going to do. If something will take him away from his end goal then he is not going to do it.”
Come across the young man, stand before him, and ask him, ‘Who is Parker Jenkins?’ Only then will you understand this level of respect for all those around him. “I have always tried to create my own personal image as someone that people can always talk to,” he says. “I’ve always tried to be as nice as I could to everyone. Respect is something you don’t see a lot in today’s society so I have always been big on showing others respect. I have always tried to be as gentle and supportive of other people. It just makes sense to treat people that way.
With only a few short months until Parker heads off to serve for his LDS faith in Ecuador, we wish him all the best and know he has set a fine example for his Warrior brothers, both on and off the field. • HSSI