John Arthur Martinez says he was born to wear boots but spent most of his time in tennis shoes instead.
The singer-songwriter grew up in Round Mountain, Texas – what he calls “boot country,” just west of Austin. He earned an athletic scholarship to the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, and was the top player in his tennis team there for a week before a fateful knee injury turned his life in another direction.
“That is just a horrible situation to have for an athlete who, all your life you’ve been pushing yourself, and you think, ‘OK, I may even try to become a professional tennis player,’” Martinez says.
Devastated and unable to walk, Martinez turned his energy to guitar-playing and songwriting, and soon enough he realized he had a new dream.
Since then, Martinez has traded his tennis shoes for boots, which have become part of his “uniform” as a singer in Texas. He loves his boots so much so that he wore them while playing tennis against a group of kids. He bet his bass player he could “school” the kids while wearing his boots.
“And I did,” he says. “I schooled them in my boots … and my hat.”
Written by Samantha Carrizal.