Sneakers squeaking on the floor, the echo of the basketball dribbling on the floor, the crowd roaring and the coach is yelling at the team. Tyler Martin, 11 years old, just got fouled with two seconds left on the clock. No time-outs left, the coach and the crowd yelling, trying to cheer him on.
Beads of sweat stream down his face, taking heavy breaths while he tries to focus to take a shot. All Tyler can hear is his dad telling him to take a breath and just shoot.
Tyler takes a breath closes his eyes and steps up to the foul line. He takes his first shot and misses. Water starts filling his eyes as he blocks out the sound of the roaring crowd. Without stepping back he takes his second shot and misses.
Tyler Martin is 20 years old and is currently attending Buffalo State College. He plays football and during the summer he plays baseball and basketball with the leagues.
“My family has always been involved in sports, so I started playing at a young age.” Said Martin.
He played since he was the age of six, and keeps on playing. His father also played college football and basketball so he thought it would be the right thing by keeping this tradition alive.
Throughout everything Martin still looks back at all the times his father was supporting him, helping him become a better player, teaching him some of the moves he did back in the day, as well and playing with him to help him get his technique up there.
“That’s what really actually keeps me going. The fact that my dad played and I want to keep that tradition going. Well that and the love for the game.”
His mom also supportive of his athletic endeavors but helps him with more of the student aspect. She helps him focus on how he can be a better student while being an athlete in college.
Since Martin is in his third year of college, the workload does add up and having a sport to play on top of that, it’s easy to get caught up and loose track of what one is supposed to do.
When Martin started his first year it was extremely difficult to manage both a sport and classes. Being a freshman, meeting all new people, and being away from home, it wasn’t easy to focus on one thing. But the sport of football helped him get through all of that.
“Being at a new school wasn’t easy, but when things started to settle, it became much easier to focus on school work.”
Before a big game Martin would usually chew on his mouthpiece, listen to music, pray, and try to get focused on the game itself. He found that this calms him down and just lets him focus on the game rather than anything else.
“I try to stay focused on the game rather than have school work running through my mind.”
Passion for the game is important to all players, no matter what sport one plays. When you don’t put your heart into the game, you don’t have the passion for it. Martin always tries to put his head in the game no matter what else he has going on.
“I love the game too much sometimes. You also have to take care of yourself so you don’t get injured.”
Martin is on the injured reserved list because he hurt his whole right foot by being too stubborn and playing when he wasn’t supposed to. His injury started his junior year of high school when he was attending Christ the King Regional High School.
He was in football practice and he had a severe sprain from his ankle to his heel. He was told that he was supposed to stay off of his foot for a good four to five weeks.
Of course Martin being stubborn, he did not listen and went back out on the field anyway. His love for the game was just too strong, and got himself injured even worse.
“I was too hard headed. Now I can’t really play.”
He did miss a week’s worth of activities and practice, but was playing in the second week of his injury.
“Honestly, it was one of the worst pains of my life. But I had to push through the pain.”
Within his return onto the field so early, he hurt his ankle even more on the field and hurt his ankle again. He now has a slight fracture in his ankle. His ankle never fully healed correctly and the only way to fix it at this point is through surgery or breaking it and “restructuring” the ankle.
“I failed my physical exam this year so I haven’t been cleared to play this year. That’s why I’m not on the roster.”
Martin is determined to pass him physical exam coming up in January without the surgery. Right now he is just focusing on training and working out on the offseason, so he will be prepared for the upcoming season.
“I don’t want to get the surgery unless I really truly need it. I’m going to work through the pain for now.”
Martin wants to avoid the surgery as much as possible. In way he thinks it will push him back. He doesn’t mind working hard, but feels that the surgery will be a set back as well as spending money he doesn’t have.
Martin is a hard head and is very stubborn. He continues to push through the pain and work on his technique and muscle tone. He plans on being a part of the team come January. He continues to push himself harder and harder to make himself better.
“Like I said, I’m stubborn and a hard head so I just keep pushing myself. I just listen to what my dad always says, just breathe and take it one day at a time.”
*written in 2015*