Resilient Hendricks dedicates 2018 season in memory of his father

By Sean Lynch
Section 9 Football Insider Staff

WASHINGTONVILLE— Ryan Hendricks briefly looks toward the ceiling before a summer-league basketball game at the Newburgh Armory Unity Center. He takes a look at his opponent and claps his hands. Seconds later, the Washingtonville junior scores the first two of his 13 points on a contested layup. He wishes two people were watching, neither of whom are in the building. 

Ron Hendricks noticed a lump getting increasingly bigger on his chest seven months ago. He went to get it checked out and not much later underwent surgery. The surgery didn’t work. The lumps turned into a tumor. A few weeks later, Ryan was told that his dad had 12 tumors in his brain.

Ron passed away from Stage 4 melanoma on July 3, 18 days after his 52nd birthday. Ryan was only 16 months old when his mom, Kathleen, passed away in 2003. Ryan lives with his grandparents in Washingtonville.

Ron was an athlete throughout high school and his talent left a mark with his children. In 2011, his daughter Alyssa broke the 50-yard freestyle school record with a time of 24.79 seconds. The record still stands seven years later. Ryan plays football, basketball and baseball, and has received college interest in all three sports. 

Ron showed up to every Washingtonville football game. He could often be found yelling passionately from the bleachers. “No matter how many people showed up to a game,” Ryan said, “I could always hear or see him.”

Ron, a former part-owner of Brotherhood Winery in Washingtonville, was a talented chef, according to Ryan.

“Whenever I finished a workout, my dad made me a healthy meal,” Ryan said. “He taught me that there’s no point in working out if you’re not eating right.” 

They would toss a football, a baseball, anything, in their backyard after every dinner.

In his third varsity season last year, Hendricks had 36 tackles and two interceptions as Washingtonville’s strong safety. He added 14 receptions for 324 yards and three touchdowns as a slot receiver. 

Ryan Hendricks was third on the team in receiving yards last season. Three of the Wizards’ top receivers graduated, and he looks forward to doing whatever it takes to form a successful connection with senior quarterback Vinny Martello. “Vinny and I have spent a lot of time working on routes this summer,” Hendricks said. “It’s his last season and I want to do whatever it takes for it to be a successful one for him.”

“He (Hendricks) is capable of being on the all-state team,” Martello said. “Ryan and I have been playing together since Pop Warner. Every play he gives 100 percent effort and I’m really excited to see what we can do on the field this season.”

Ryan will wear customized cleats during the season to honor his dad. They are black with the melanoma cancer logo throughout the side. “My dad always told me to tackle hard, and this season I’ll hit harder than I ever have before.”

Hendricks paused. “Everything I do this season will be for him.”

Twitter: @SeanLynch845