NFL Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony 2012: Curtis Martin Speech Steals the Show
Curtis Martin, the fourth overall leading rusher in NFL history, left his mark in another way at the 2012 Hall of Fame induction ceremony Saturday night. It will be a lasting memory of the former New England Patriots and New York Jets rusher.
Rather than write a speech and read from note cards, Martin stood up in front of his peers and the world and spoke from the heart.
Martin’s speech was honest, motivating and inspirational in so many ways. It took courage and a little bit of improvisation on the part of the former NFL running back.
Throughout the beginning of his speech, tears filled the recent inductee’s eyes as he recanted the struggles of growing up in a bad neighborhood and abusive household. He spoke eloquently about the pain he felt for his mother as his father “tortured” her and abused his family.
Then there was the reason he got into playing football: to stay alive. He remarked about a life heading in the wrong direction due to the bad neighborhood he lived in. Brushes with death, bad experiences and his mother’s care opened the young Martin’s eyes to search for something more in life.
He wasn’t just serious and inspirational, though, showing a calm demeanor and light humor at times.
Another thing about me: I played running back and I'm up here for how many yards I ran. Everyone who knows me also knows that I hate to run. I don't like to run at all. I box now to stay in shape just because I don't want to run anywhere.
Not liking to run as a running back is akin to his statements about not even liking the game of football. It’s remarkable that Martin was able to endure the grueling and punishing life of the NFL without the love of the game.
That’s how bad he wanted to escape his previous life.
When you thought things were over, he got even better. He ended things perfectly, better than anyone could have imagined.
“It’s not necessarily what you achieve in life, but it’s who you become in the process of those achievements that really matters,” Martin said.
Thanks, Curtis Martin, for your moving and amazing expression to the world.
*All quotes were retrieved from the “Best of Curtis Martin HOF speech” on NFL.com
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