We’d just got back from a family dinner, and were loading pictures from the camera onto the computer when my brother got a phone call. My brother is the kind of guy who, when he gets a phone call, walks to the center of the room and starts talking. Loudly. Bro, if you read this, I’m just telling you, as I have before, that’s rude and inconsiderate to the others in the room.
The call was from someone in a bar in Michigan who ran into a childhood acquaintance of my brother’s. There were a few large families where I grew up, so chances were, if there was someone in the family my brother’s age, there was also someone my age, as was the case here.
Back before Michael Jordan went on to dominate basketball, The Detroit Pistons were doing pretty good. So me and some friends played a lot of basketball. A couple brothers lived across the street from the Junior High, so we’d meet up and play pickup with whoever showed up. Martin had just got out of the Marines, and I attribute a lot of how I played basketball to his particular brand of play. I don’t remember for sure, but I think he was upwards of 240 pounds when he got out of the Marines. He was a big guy. I never played organised basketball, so don’t know the rules, but I know when a 240 pound guy is coming down on top of you from a layup, you have to do some things defensively that might get a foul called in a more organised match. Seems like a pair of glasses got smashed at least once a week playing basketball, a pretty high equipment cost for a guy who needs his glasses to see.
So from this chance encounter of a couple people my brother knows meeting up in a bar, I come to find out that Martin committed suicide a few years back. I googled his name later that night, and there were zero results, which even added to the sadness a little. Martin was a pretty good natured kid, I didn’t expect to hear of things ending this way for him.
So, this one’s for you, buddy. Semper Fidelis. You may not have ever known that I thought of you years after we parted ways whenever someone asked me to defend against the other team’s lead scorer.