ANGIE MARTINEZ, #69, CENTER
We challenged our rookies to enter their inspirational stories for a chance to win the March Player of the Month title and would like to share the winning story with you here. Angie Martinez' story is happy, sad, moving, and encouraging! We are proud to announce her as the winner and to have her as an Indy Crash rookie!
For winning the contest, any donations made this month on our GoFundMe will be split 50/50 between the Indy Crash for the 2016 season and to help pay Angie’s 2016 player fees. You can make donations here.
Angie will also be recognized at the Indy Crash fundraiser in April and will be presented with a special prize. Make sure to join us in celebrating Angie's first win on the Indy Crash! For more information about our fundraiser, visit our calendar.
Without further ado, the winning essay:
Life is a Lemon Tree
by Angie Martinez
Typically, there are two types of people in this world: the ones who say, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade” or the ones who say, “When life gives you lemons, bring the tequila and salt and make it a party.”
This usually confused me, because I thought, why not add tequila and salt to the lemonade and make it a margarita. Just enjoy the time to party, no complaints – just enjoy life for what it is. This brings up an important question. “What is life?” For me, life is what I make of it. It is mine and no one else’s, and I have learned to live my life fully through its ups and downs.
Growing up, I was lucky enough to be able to travel and enjoy some things in life that I know a lot of people are not able to do. I was born in Honduras, a third world country in Central America, to a middle class family. Thankfully, due to my parents’ jobs and my family ties, I was able to live mainly between Honduras and the United States. I know travelling that much as a kid sounds great, and I must admit…it was. But, at the same time, I was not able to enjoy a typical childhood and grow up with the same friends from the neighborhood or remain in the same spot for long enough to be able to maintain solid friendships. However, I was able to learn different languages and stay active in school activities. It was through school activities, like sports, that I was able to adapt and remain socially active. However, in 2005, my parents decided to completely move to the United States, and although I had family in the US and had travelled back and forth throughout my life, I was just a teenager; my life changed drastically.
Once we moved to the United States, I was in a state of cultural shock. Not only was it a completely different language, but it was drastically a different way of life. Even though I had grown up back and forth between Miami, Florida and other Latin American countries, fully moving to the United States changed my life.
When my family permanently moved to the United States, we ended up in good ol’ Indiana, which was a strange place to say the least. I remember being made fun of because of my accent and my “liberal lifestyle”. Sure, I spoke English, and I had spoken English throughout my life as my second language. But, it was still easy for others to make fun of me and question my intelligence, including my teachers. I was placed in ESL and intermediate classes, although I had maintained a 4.0 GPA and in honor classes all my life. I have to admit; I did not complain much, as classes were a breeze for me, but I was not getting anything out of school. I did what I had learned my whole life and joined sports teams at my school and just let that carry me through life and help me make friends. Once again, sports were my salvation, and I was able to make friends who did not judge my accent, my “liberal views,” or limit my intelligence.
During high school, I was able to prove that I was just as smart as everyone else, graduating with honors, top of my class, with a 3.8 GPA, and a full ride to Indiana University. I was at what you could consider a high point in my new adult life. I was in a serious relationship and had a bright future ahead of me. I was looking forward to what my life was going to bring. Well, let me tell you – I was in for a quick awakening!
During my first semester at Indiana University, I got a call to come back home, because my father had being diagnosed with cancer. I had to drop out of school and get a full time job to be able to afford our family’s expenses and make sure my father’s medical bills were being paid. Bills were piling up, and this made me realize that I needed to work hard and continue my education.
Shortly after my father’s diagnosis, I reenrolled as a part-time student at IUPUI and decided to enroll in ROTC and serve this country that had adopted me and mine. I was struggling between school and my employment, but I made it work. I believe that sports made me stronger mentally.
When times get tough, just keeps pushing – and this is what I did.
My father went through surgeries and chemotherapy. Thankfully, a year later, he went into remission. I continued working hard, and it was then that our house burned down. It was the middle of the night, when we had to wake up and flee our home, because it was on fire. I remember being upset with everything and everyone. Seriously! What more could happen?
I once again did what I did best and worked through it; I looked at it as a new beginning in a new house. Not too long after, life struck again. I was in a fairly bad car accident. Turns out, that car accident saved my life. Due to the impact, I had to go to the hospital and get tests. The doctors discovered that I had a brain tumor. I went through therapy and battled it for 2 years, beating it and surviving. At that point in my life, I lost a lot of friends; my serious relationship had become a tumultuous relationship. I was still struggling with my sexuality and just figuring out who I really was and how I fit in with others and within my own culture. The only thing that still gave me pleasure and helped me continue to fight was the fact that I was able to play sports. Whether it was soccer or softball, I was able to be out there and not worry about life.
Now, a few years older, in the year 2015, I started living life and realizing that there are more things for me to live for. Through a new found support group of my best friend and my therapist, I was able to end a toxic relationship that lasted 8 years. The only reasons that I had remained in the relationship was my own fear and shame.
This is when I realized I needed something new; something that had always been there for me. Sports! Now, I do not usually give my personal email when I sign up for things, but apparently, I did. Indy Crash contacted me about upcoming try outs. I had never played football before, and to be honest, I thought it was just about hitting people and scoring touchdowns. Boy was I wrong! If life had delivered so many lemons, with my dad’s cancer, my house fire, my brain tumor, life brought the salt and tequila in 2015 with my best friend and the Indy Crash. At the first meeting, I locked my keys inside my car and had to call a locksmith. I missed about half of the meeting, but with the few moments that I was in that meeting, I caught a glimpse of sisterhood, family, love and respect. It was something that I did not know I needed or wanted.
As I continue with the Indy Crash and football, I realize that football teaches me responsibility and encourages teamwork. I certainly do not want to let my teammates down, and I know they feel the same way. Being part of the Indy Crash has given me a family and gives me support in more ways than I can describe. Being a rookie and struggling to understand the rules of the game, as well the game in general, has been hard, but I know life is hard.
I am thankful that I can rely on my coaches and teammates to guide me. We struggle together, push forward, and unite in our battles. These women have earned my love and respect, because we all have issues, from school and families to kids and jobs, but we all show up, day in and day out, and sweat it out. We work hard, not just for ourselves, but for each other, because we want the best for our teammates. Being a part of the Indy Crash has taught me that…. yes, being an athlete is fun, but it’s also hard work.
You have to earn your spot on the team. You will not succeed without hard work. It’s not easy being a female athlete. It’s not easy having to wake up extra early to make sure you get your work out in. You have to be committed to make it to the meetings and practices. You have to learn to grown mentally and physically. But, you also have to balance out your other commitments in life. I’ve worked hard my whole life to battle bullying, cultural shocks, cancer, a fire, a brain tumor. I now realize that I’m no longer alone. I have my family and my teammates (the Indy Crash) who come hail or high water. I know that we can just grab those lemons, squeeze them and… sure, we can party or just simply bake a cake with them. Who knows? But, I know that my teammates won’t let me down, and I know I will not let them down either.