Saturday, January 7, 2017

MY FRIEND, JOHN MARTIN, HAS ALS


I was hoping it was just a bad dream. There was no way the news I read about the night
before could possibly be true.  It was just too cruel, so unfair, and just so wrong. I lay in bed
praying to God that it was all just one of those out-of-body experiences that plays with
the mind and blurs reality in a world that has been drowning in death, destruction, and
tragedy.

After getting up, I fired up my computer and searched Facebook for the news that jolted
my mind, body, and soul less than eight hours before. There was just no way it could be true. Nobody, especially this guy, deserved a fate like this.

And there it was. A picture that made my heart jump into my throat, tears welling up in
my ears. A happy and beautiful family. A familiar face I knew and loved followed by
the words that will be seared into my consciousness forever: "Click here to support the
John Martin ALS Fund."


My friend, John Martin, was diagnosed with ALS, the insidious disease with no cure. It's
the one that inspired the ice bucket challenge thanks to the story of Pete Frates, who played
baseball at Boston College right in Martin's backyard at NESN, his place of employment
for the last 19 years.

As a supremely talented photographer, Martin covered the story of Frates and his
battle against ALS. Now he has it.

No! Not John Martin! It's just not fair and just not right. It had to be a mistake. Martin is
one of the best people I've ever met, not only in television, but in life. Hundreds of other people
who've met Martin will tell you the same thing. Forget about his talent as a videographer,
Martin is the type of guy who puts a smile on your face as soon as he walks into a room

He has a heart of gold, a quick wit, and a personality that can brighten up the darkest of
days. Martin loved his job covering the professional teams in the greatest sports town in
the country. He was lucky and he knew it. Whenever I'd greet him and ask him how he was
doing, Martin always responded with a mile-wide grin on face by saying, "Just living the
dream, baby."

Martin's colleagues adored him and the athletes he came to know, loved and respected
him. Many times I'd show up for an assignment and a coach or player would ask,
"Where's Johnny Martin?", often disappointed he wasn't there to shoot the interview and
shoot the bull afterward.

There was never a dull moment with Martin, and I got to share many of them during my
time at NESN, which he helped make two of the best years in my career and life. We were
paired many times covering the Patriots beat, traveling to all the road games, while making
countless trips to Foxborough.

We had a blast traveling from great city to great city, covering the Patriots during their
incredible championship run. They never lost and we always had a hilarious time. I remember
a time we flew into Charlotte a day ahead of the game against the Panthers. There
weren't many rental cars left and the agent asked us which of the remaining cars we wanted
and Martin quipped, "How bout the coolest one?"


We ended up with a Plymouth Cruiser. It was more ugly than cool, but god dang it, we
loved it as we roamed around Charlotte laughing are asses off. That's how all our trips
to Denver, Pittsburgh, Miami, Phoenix,  and New York were. We worked hard, laughed
even harder.

John and I loved our jobs. We didn't work by a time clock, paycheck, and didn't need
anyone else's approval. If we did a great job, we knew it. It we tried hard, but came up
short of our standard, we knew it, as well. Through rain, sleet, and snow, Martin always
did his best. He was a gamer, never complaining and always determined to get a shot
that made a difference.


One of his favorite ones, occurred after a Patriots game while I was doing a stand-up long
after the game had ended. There were very few people around, but Martin noticed a group of
people playing touch football in the background of our shot. It was Bill Belichick playing
a game with his family. Yes, Bill Belichick, Mr. Grim, running around like a little kid with
a smile on his face, playing with the same passion of the players he coaches. Martin captured
it all. It was classic John Martin.

During our time as co-workers, I saw first hand the love he had for his wife and family.
He was so proud and so happy as he checked in with them after every safe flight and every
trip to Foxborough. He was just as enthusiastic about his other 'job' as  a coach of a Little
League baseball team. It was a passion of his and there were many times he'd cut off
talk about the Patriots and Red Sox to talk about his kids and the games they played.


I love John Martin. Always have, always will. He is one of the best guys I've ever met.
I love his wife, Adriane. She is a beautiful, vibrant, and funny woman. I can't imagine the
pain they are in, and the challenge ahead of them.

It is my hope the entire Boston community rallies around him and his battle against ALS.
His friends and the great people at NESN will be there for him, all the teams that he covered
like the Red Sox, Patriots, Celtics, and Bruins, should be there for him, too.

He is Johnny Martin. He is a beautiful man. He deserves all our love, compassion, and help
in his battle against ALS.   https://www.gofundme.com/jmartinfund




1 comment:

  1. Well said my friend...well said. Absolutely devastating news.

    ReplyDelete