There’s a gun pointed right in his face, and Curtis Martin isn’t scared, for that momentary time has passed. No, he is defiant, fearless in acceptance. He’s almost in a trance, captured by abject, inert peace. His fate, predicated in ghoulish, tragic nightmares, would be sealed and delivered, his destiny fruitlessly revealed, amiss in any grand design. His worst inclinations would be proved absolute in their truth, life, only through it’s conclusion, would at long last have essence. In a world only continued only through confusion, finally, an unbreakable certainty could and would exist: Curtis Martin is free to die. Just another victim, another youth gunned down in the streets, more reason for the status quo to avert their eyes instead of opening them. The barrel is still, unmoving and unsympathetic, held steady by a stone cold killer. A sound echoes inside the dark that ruthlessly encases this abandoned alleyway, a trigger pulled.
The killer, perhaps amused in his frustration, switches the gun’s angle, pointing it sideways toward his prey’s temple.
The hand held explosion doesn’t arrive on usual command. The killer now wavers, confused, befuddled by this sudden shift in control.
Amid all the disorder, a reprieve had seemingly been developed.
Curtis remains at a stand still, shocked by the ineptitude of even faith in delivering him to a higher place.
Curious, the Killer tests the intangible and aims for a lifeless, adjacent wall.
The single gunshot awakes young Curtis, rejuvenates his soul.
Live or die.
He makes his choice, sprinting, never stopping, on a run to eternally escape the shadows.
Number 28 on the Jets isn’t a human highlight reel, nor is he a machine of bottomless self-promotion. His personality would never invoke instant recognition, as Curtis will eventually seep through the cracks of established greatness, in favor of keeping the lightest of low profiles.
Just the way he wants it.
His life spared by a sudden seam in fate, Martin has dedicated his survival to the pursuit of redemption. Those seconds, previously poisonous, spent in preparation awaiting his demise, now bleed in meaning, replete with maximum effort.
Going hard all the time, every single time.
It’s his drive, his will, the need to prove life right for giving him a second chance that creates sustaining, graceful consistency. Curtis brings a sense of poetic development on the onset of his bodily envelopment courtesy of ravenous, behemoth defensive lineman.
One won’t be treated to amazing spin moves, unbelievable jukes, or impossible changes of direction while taking in a vintage Curtis Martin performance.
Instead, on the frequent occasions in which he takes dutiful pleasure in performing rapture on a defensive front’s physical and mental equilibrium, one could never avoid noticing the details.
An extra yard gained through the simplest second effort.
A cut, the opposite of extravagant in its basic design; perfectly timed in substance, not style, resulting in a momentum swerving first down.
The ability to hit a defender first, lowering the shoulder, eliminating the possibility of becoming victim instead of victor.
It’s in the nuance that Martin proves himself, now and forever.
Class. It can’t be taught, only experienced through people and events that unfold the saga of our lives. Born and raised in a world that didn’t offer any accommodating examples in such an ideal, Martin took it upon himself to become a better man.
The one who seeks gets just rewards, staying stagnant is often a recipe for repeated failure. Through change, it was Curtis who experienced success, again and again, in the endeavor that defines him to the majority of his extended family, football.
Fans notice. When their icon suffers through a game hurt, when a star helps an opponent to his feet, the little things matter often entirely too much in the minds of many, but are indeed undeniable in their overall importance.
It’s beyond reason, asking an athlete to become a role model, exclusively due to stature gained by a game. For special people such as Curtis Martin however, it isn’t difficult, weaving sport within a productive life.
Just ask him.
One reply on “Running by Matt Waters”
Well written The story of Curtis Martin is amazing. It’s ironic, young people die everyday in Homewood (Pittsburgh’s worst neighborhood) and I get chills every time I hear that story.