Story & Reporting by Diane Roberts, WUSA 9
FREDERICK, Md. (WUSA 9) -- Don't be fooled by what looks like a leisurely stroll in the park for 17 year old Maciah Thomas.
The second baseman and outfielder at St. John's Catholic Prep in Frederick, Maryland has drawn interest from half a dozen colleges, but baseball is not where he hopes to grab your attention.
His focus now is on parkour -- the European born form of urban gymnastics that turns streets and parks into gyms and obstacle courses.
"I like the concept of it ... the freedom of it ... it's not really [as]structured of a sport as football or baseball would be," said Maciah, who started his parkour career by jumping off the back deck at home (until his mom banned that move).
The high school senior was also a YouTube sensation last year for a front flip basketball shot he made that aired on ESPN and "The Ellen Degeneres Show."
"Physically I know I can do it ... it's more of the mental aspect; I have to mentally prepare myself," said Maciah. "There's always a barrier that you can't reach, that you're going to be scared to do ... whether in parkour or in life. [No matter] how good you get at it, you're always going to be scared at the next progression."
Maciah says he pushes through the fear. He's never broken a bone and only had some muscle strains and ankle injuries.
"I don't think about the worst that can happen, like breaking something, I only think about what it feels like to land it," said Maciah.
But his parents were thinking about that and more.
"It was very new, so from that standpoint it was very difficult for us, especially with the level of risk and danger that could be there," said Maciah's father Scott Thomas.
Maciah has a professional trainer and says youngsters interested in taking up the sport should ask their parents first.
He loves the sport and hopes one day to join the Red Bull team as a paid parkour professional.