COLUMBIA — Logan Parks, a senior forward on the Rock Bridge boys basketball team, says if he ever needs to find a reason to play harder, he just looks down at his right shoulder and looks at his tattoo.
“When I’m getting ready for games, I’ll go to the bathroom to dry off my hands,” Logan Parks said. “I’ll see that tattoo in the mirror, and it gets me through every game."
Hickman (5-3) at Rock Bridge (3-1)
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WHERE: Rock Bridge High School Gym
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Parks is 6 feet, 7 inches tall, can easily dunk a basketball and at 18, already has a scruffy beard. But in school, he is referred to as the guy with the tattoo.
He said he loves that people’s eyes are drawn to the large tattoo as he pulls down rebounds for the Bruins. Behind the ink lies what is most important to him — family.
At first, he said he only wanted to get a tattoo because he thought it would be a good way to grab the opposite sex’s attention. As the search for the perfect tattoo began, though, he realized that impressing girls wasn’t the only thing a tattoo is good for. He wanted a tattoo that meant something. He wanted something that was a representation of who he was and what he stood for. He just didn’t expect that his first tattoo would become a new family tradition.
“I wanted to get something that later in time, would actually mean something,” Logan Parks said. “So as I get older, when the skin starts to get a little gross, it can still be something special.”
He went to his sister, Morgan Parks, 23, for advice because she was a tattoo veteran with eight tattoos. The two decided they would get the same tattoo, a Chinese symbol that meant “family."
“We kind of talked about it,” Logan Parks said. “We decided that we were both going to get something that was about the same thing. We made sure it was something that meant a lot to both of us. It turned out to be family.”
Getting the tattoo wasn’t a new experience for Morgan Parks. She said she loves the way a tattoo represents a person, and how permanent they were. She said she is fascinated by the artwork that goes into a tattoo and the stories that often accompany them. She also said her father, Daniel Parks, got a tattoo when she was younger to represent his children.
Morgan Parks said her tattoos range in size and meaning, but she said the one on her wrist, her family one, means the most to her.
“I have always loved tattoos, and had enjoyed looking at them and seeing them,” Morgan Parks said. “And when we decided that we wanted to do something together, and for it to be symbolic for all us kids, why not a tattoo? It’s sentimental to all of us.”
After Logan and Morgan Parks decided what tattoo to get, Logan Parks, only 17 at the time, had another decision to make. He could wait for his 18th birthday, or try to convince his mother Rebecca Parks to sign a waiver to let him get a tattoo earlier.
He chose to sell his mother on the idea and use his sister and her finished tattoo as his biggest ally. He said he wasn’t expecting the process to go as smoothly as it did.
“I had to do a little talking,” Logan Parks said. “But she liked the idea too. It stood for us as a whole, so it didn’t take too long.”
Rebecca Parks said it made sense to her.
“But he persuaded me by telling me it was a neat family thing," she said. "We thought that all the kids would end up getting that tattoo.”
Morgan Parks got her first tattoo at only 16 at a tattoo parlor that did not ask for proof of age. Rebecca Parks wasn’t pleased at the time, but said she has gradually changed her mind, especially with this tattoo. She said she likes that even though she and her husband are divorced, the family can still bond and have a sense of togetherness.
“Since their dad and I divorced, it’s really important that we back each other up and be there for each other,” she said. “It took me a while to get used to them (tattoos), but to them, if they have meaning and they weren’t just random tats, then I don’t mind them. If they have meaning to them, then it’s important.”
All that’s left for Morgan and Logan Parks is to convince Logan’s twin brother, Dylan, to get the work done. They don’t think that he is too far off.
“We’ve been talking to him about it, but he just hasn’t done it yet,” Morgan Parks said. “Hopefully it’s in his plans.”
Just seeing his brother and sister with the same tattoo could be enough for Dylan.
“I want it more just seeing that they both got it,” Dylan Parks said. “I’m going to get it because it’s a family tradition that they have going on now. It’ll mean a lot to just keep it going.”
Dylan Parks said that because his brother plays basketball, he gets asked about the tattoo frequently.
“I just tell them it’s part of the family,” Dylan Parks said. “Hopefully the next game I go to after I get it done, people will know we’re brothers because we’ll have the same one, and they’ll ask me. It’s going to mean a lot.”
He may not be the last member of the Parks family to get that tattoo, though.
“Once that happens (Dylan getting the tattoo), I’m probably going to have to get it done,” Rebecca Parks said with a smile. “It would just have to be in a very small and hidden place.”
Teammate and fellow senior Ricky Kreklow said he thinks the tattoo plays into who Logan Parks is. He said the most important thing about Logan Parks concerning his tattoo is that he believes in what it stands for.
“He’s an outgoing person, just free spirited,” Kreklow said. “He’s one of those people, that when he gets an idea and feels strongly about it, he does it. You can make fun of tattoos all you want, but the fact that he feels that strongly about those values and beliefs, kind of says a lot about his personality.”
Logan Parks said he is more than satisfied with his tattoo.
"Knowing that my family is around, even if they aren’t physically there, it means a great deal to me,” he said.
As far as getting the attention of the ladies, Logan Parks said that his tattoo is the ultimate conversation starter.
“It has worked so far,” he said. “If I’m at a pool and I take off the shirt, it gets their attention to me. That and the fact that I’m 6-7. That helps too.”