STEVE HANLON: Marty Ball survives tough breaks in E.C.

2013-08-22T17:00:00Z 2013-09-12T22:53:25Z STEVE HANLON: Marty Ball survives tough breaks in E.C.Steve Hanlon Prep Beat nwitimes.com
August 22, 2013 5:00 pm  • 

EAST CHICAGO | It was Oct. 5 of last football season. Martayveus Carter was in Gary playing Bowman Academy. He did what he's done like clockwork since putting on the E.C. Central football uniform.

He scored a touchdown.

Instead of celebrating with his teammates, Carter blew a kiss to the sky and took a moment to reflect. His mother, Sharon Carter, threw her arms in the air and flashed a Friday night smile.

This occurred in a wheelchair, where she still sits today.

This is part of the backdrop that has made Martayveus Carter. Vicious bumps are all over his road. But they do not slow the Northern Illinois-bound running back/linebacker down.

These hardships have actually given him more speed.

His uncle, Percy Long, was a star football player in California back in the late 1980s. Long, Sharon's brother, was shot dead by a skinhead, the family tells. Long is an icon driving this talented young man.

"It's like I'm reliving his life," Martayveus said of his uncle. "I never had a chance to meet him, I know he wishes he could be in my shoes. Instead it's me. That's why I sent him a kiss.

"Now I'm doing what he would want me to do if he was still on the Earth."

Sharon's life used to be much different. The streets were hard on the mother of six. While six months pregnant, a car drug her down the street after hitting her. This was 12 years ago. She still hasn't walked.

But she rolls to every E.C. football game to watch her son rock the competition. While raised by his grandparents, Willie and Betty Brooks, there is still a mother-son rapport in this passion play.

"She doesn't ask too much, just for me to be the son she wants me to be," Martayveus said. "I try to be there whenever she calls, to be the next father, dad, in the home."

It's been said that Martayveus is extremely funny. He's a walking punchline in the room. But if you don't know him and he doesn't know you, you aren't going to get much. This loud player is quieter than a boat full of mimes on Lake Michigan.

If a tree falls on a football field does anyone hear it?

"I would rather play the game than talk about it," Martayveus said.

Coach Stacy Adams said coaches from Northern Illinois and other places delayed their courting because they all wanted to get to know him better.

"If you're not inside his circle he's not going to say much," Adams said. "He has to feel comfortable."

He is Elvis in a Ferrari to his sisters. They do not get the silent treatment.

"We play fight, tell jokes, when we're together," younger sister Makayla Carter said. "He's awesome. Sometimes he takes me places. I feel safe with my big brother."

"I'm amazed by him, every day," older sister Malyra Carter said. "This is crazy. I think he's a robot, the kind of shape he's in."

Micah Carter, his youngest sister, doesn't say much about her brother. She just smiles. She was in Sharon's womb when the accident happened. She is the family's "Miracle Baby."

It doesn't mean E.C.'s No. 2 isn't a kid. Once, on a dare, he put a smoking, hot fork on his lips when he was 10.

"He screamed for about a week," laughed Sharon. "I've been through a lot. The Good Book is what brought me through. I am going to walk again. I am. So I can get to those games and watch Marty play.

This should be a great football season in E.C. Carter is one of Indiana's best players. He's shown great leadership, despite the hardships. He is an overcomer. And that is what his program is too.

"We are fired up," Martayveus said. "I can't wait. I want to play. I know I can be a great player. But I can also be a great person off the field, a role model. I think I'm a great person to get to know."

This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Reach him at steve.hanlon@nwi.com.

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

activate-button-3
Follow The Times

Latest Local Offers

Poll

Loading…

Who is your favorite inductee in this year's Baseball Hall of Fame class?

View Results