THE CROWD is wild with excitement, chanting louder and louder. The band chimes in alongside the crowd, performing the jubilant number that welcomes their team onto the field. The cheerleaders wave their pom pom’s excitedly and jump in anticipation.
This is it. This will be the first time he will storm the field as a senior. He’s almost lost count of the amount of times he’s ran across the historic Carden-Jarrell Field. But no matter the number, it will never get old.
While the noise around him is almost deafening, he hears nothing. He looks around him, taking in the sight of his teammates; his brother’s who he will march proudly into battle with for 48 minutes.
It’s time. It’s time for all or nothing. It’s his chance to leave a legacy for his fellow Red Raiders to carry on after he graduates.
And in almost an instant, he is catapulted back to the moment where the noise and excitement comes into full focus. He takes off with his teammates running onto the field and under the lights on a Friday night. It’s game time.
This time of the year is an exciting one for Travis Martin. You could even say it’s his favorite. When asked what he looks forward to the most about football season, his answer is simple and straightforward.
“I get to hit somebody,” he said. “I get to go into battle with my brothers. That first game, [against] Franklin County, is always on our minds.”
Martin has always had a love for sports. As a young child, he was filled with joy when his parents surprised him with the news that they had signed him up for Pee Wee football.
“I’ve just kind of always wanted to play sports,” said Martin. “They surprised me with football sign-ups one year. Once I got started and realized that I was pretty decent, and I was hooked after that. After the first year of PeeWee, I just loved it.”
That love only grew for Martin as he furthered his career in football, playing in middle school and now highschool. He said that the sport is like none other.
“I love to compete, and football is just different from any other sport I’ve encountered and tried,” explained Martin. “Just the rush and adrenaline of being in the game and being able to compete with a tight brotherhood in the game. It’s a whole other level of excitement. I run track as well and before a meet you get excited and even get butterflies. But with football it’s just magnified.”
That same excitement has been passed on to his brother, Tyler [Martin], who will be playing alongside Travis this year as a sophomore strong safety.
“It’s going to be unique,” he said. “We are both playing strong safety. So he will sub in for me and give me a little breather. Up until now, I’ve been playing both sides of the ball. My little cousin, Caden, is a freshman and will also be playing with us”
Now a senior, Travis understands that leaving something worthwhile is of the utmost importance.
“I want to be able to look back and know that I actually did something, and we did something as a senior class,” he explained. “We have 20 seniors this year. Almost all of us have been together since middle school. We’ve seen it coming since freshman year, and we’re just a tight-knit group that loves each other. I want to be able to look back and say we actually did something for Coffee County Football.”
The legacy that Travis and his teammates are working toward will include a love for the game, being a team player, and being accountable to oneself and one’s teammates. These are all qualities that Travis said encompass a great team.
“If you don’t love the game, you’re not going to do what it takes to be better on the field,” he said. “Also, you have to be a team player.
Ten out of the 11 players on the field can be doing something right, and one doesn’t do something right, and the whole play is gone. But also, when that one player does mess up don’t get down on them. Also, make sure you have your brother’s back.”
Travis understands that leaving something worthwhile is of the utmost importance.
“It is my goal to be a godly influence to my teammates by living out my faith both on the field and in the locker room,” he said.
At the end of the season, Travis will hang his pads up for good, but he will take the lessons learned along with him to help him in the game of life.
“Football has really improved my work ethic and taught me that if you are consistent with things, it will pay off,” he said. It’s also helped me to be a better leader. You’re going to have people helping you and people bringing you down. It’s pretty much just getting you ready for the world.” GN