Zack Martin’s senior year of high school athletics was filled with a lot of highs.
On June 15 he had the opportunity to be a part of the annual North-South Basketball Classic at the South Charleston Community Center. While he didn’t score in the contest, Martin knows full well he was part of a select group.
“I always like to represent Ravenswood,” said Martin, who a Class AA Second Team All-State selection both as a junior and senior at Ravenswood High. “It’s an honor because not everybody gets a chance to do it.”
Besides another solid season on the basketball court, Martin also went out for football his senior year. What he did as a first-year varsity player no doubt displayed his tremendous athletic ability. He earned Class AA First Team All-State honors as a defensive back.
He looks back on both his football and basketball seasons fondly, yet also with sadness. Because in life while one can enjoy the highest of highs, they must also deal with the lowest of lows.
Martin had to play his senior year of athletic competition without one of his favorite fans in the stands.
His grandfather, Roy Martin, who Zack and his younger brother, Jake, affectionately called “Poppy,” died in the spring of 2010 when the vehicle he was driving was swept away by high water.
His passing left an incredible emptiness in the life of the Martin family. Zack admits playing sports helped ease the the hurt of not having his grandfather around for his precious senior year.
“He was at every game of mine. It meant a lot when I was playing,” he said. “A lot of it (what he did this season) was for him.”
Ravenswood basketball coaches Mick Price and Bryan Canterbury paid tribute to Roy Martin in the team’s annual media guide this past season. “Whether donating to the boosters, attending dinners, or cheering on the boys and girls, you could always spot him with his Red and Black ball cap on and his wonderful smile.
Although he loved all sports, his true love was following his grandsons throughout the years and watching them play. We love and miss you very much Poppy.”
The North-South contest possibly was the last organized sporting event Martin will ever take part in. For now, his plans are to attend WVU-Parkersburg. He hasn’t ruled out the possibility of trying to play basketball starting in the 2013-14 school year.
He had garnered interest from both Glenville State College and West Virginia Tech about joining their programs. While his future as a player remains undecided, Martin is certain what he will do professionally one day.
He is all set to major in education with an emphasis on history. He also hopes to one day be a high school basketball coach. In fact, he is exploring the possibility of helping out with Price’s Runnin’ Red Devil program this coming season.
Martin was a three-year regular for Ravenswood basketball and also got to dress for the State Tournament as a freshman in 2009 when the Red Devils captured the Class AA title for the second time in a four-year span. Martin was the last one to have the ball in his hands during the championship game victory against Wyoming East.
Martin never returned to Charleston as a player, but he has no regrets. “Just playing for him (Price) was worth it,” he said. “I wouldn’t go to any other team and play. He’s the best coach in the state.”
He does, though, look back and wonder “what if” when it comes to football. “One of my biggest regrets in high school is not playing my junior year and helping that (state runner-up) team that went to Wheeling Island (Stadium). I always think about that,” he said. “Every year, the coaches told me I should play.”|
It’s something Martin plans to use to motivate others as he begins the next phase of his life. He wants to make sure up and coming Red Devils, such as his younger brother, who will be a junior, understand just how fast a high school athletic career comes and goes.
Regardless of whether he chooses to play basketball down the road, Zack Martin is more than ready to begin helping others. It will add in the process of easing the pain and erasing the void in his life following the passing of his beloved “Poppy.”