Monday, October 29, 2012

A Letter to Marcus

If you don't seek shelter under a rock, by now you know our beloved #21 is injured.  Again.  He'll miss the second half of the season.  Again.  He'll face a lengthy and difficult rehabilitation.  Again.

It's not out of the ordinary for a football player to be injured.  Make no mistake, football is a very physical, hard hitting, and inherently dangerous sport.  Football has more designed penalties for injury deterrence than any other sport.  That's no accident.  With the odds being against an athlete's favor on any given snap, why is this story getting so much national attention?

It's because #21 is not just a football player.  It's because #21 isn't just a running back.  And it's because everyone, Gamecock or not, knows it.  

It's because it's Marcus Lattimore.

This was the scene shortly after the injury, a display in all my life I've never seen.  I've never seen even one entire sideline come out to an injured player, let alone BOTH.  This is a strong statement of what this young man means to everyone, and of the respect and admiration he's gained.  


I was so overcome with emotion that I started crying.  My mom was at the game, and said the same waterworks were happening at Williams Brice, from both sets of fans.  She said she'd never heard the stadium so incredibly quiet. You hate to see any player injured, but more so when it happens to someone who has given his heart to this game and acts as a role model on and off the field.  

I wish him a speedy recovery and nothing but the best.  If you'd like to send get well wishes (or birthday wishes as today is his birthday) you can send them to:

Marcus Lattimore
c/o USC Athletics Dept.
Rice Athletic Center
1304 Heyward St.
Columbia, SC 29208



Dear Marcus,
          Wow, what a privilege it has been to have you as a Gamecock.  I remember the day you revealed that Carolina hat, choosing the Garnet & Black over Auburn.  I remember how exciting it was to be getting Mr. Football and seeing you put on that Gamecock jersey for the first time.  And boy, you haven't let us down.  Watching you run the table over Georgia that year was unreal, and since you set foot in Columbia, we've seen a lot of firsts.   You've been every bit the record setter and breaker we knew you'd be, and I'm glad you call Williams Brice home.  
          It's been such a thrill to watch you play.  Hearing announcers calling your games since your freshman year with lines like "he's a machine", "he's unstoppable", "the absolute strength of this young man", and "the best we've seen" makes it hard for me to believe just how young you are.   And yet, your talent on the field is unquestionably met by your humble character outside the sport.  I've followed college football from a young age, and cannot remember such an example of tremendous leadership.  An example of sportsmanship.  An example of perseverance.  And an example of a model student athlete.   The world could learn a lot from you in the way you've handled your success.
          So, I thank you for representing my university , for representing God and my faith, and I thank you for representing all of college football with such dignity.   I look forward to seeing God's plans for you, because up to this point, He's used your life and your talent for nothing short of a true testimony.  You are in my prayers.  Best wishes for a speedy recovery.

                God Bless,
               Ashley Houston
               Class of 2007    


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