Martin excelled in the classroom and in the sports arena.
Today, the 31-year-old mother of two enjoys watching her two daughters compete in sports, just the way she did. She doesn’t mind saying that she is hard on them both, because she wants them to excel and make it to the collegiate level.
Martin was born in 1979 in Birmingham, the daughter of Danny and Mary Martin. For the first four years of her life, she lived in Pinson.
She and her family moved to Mississippi when she was 5 and they lived there for 11 years. They then moved back to Alabama and settled in Cullman for a year before moving back to Mississippi.
During all this time, Martin had become quite the athlete.
At the age of 4, she started playing T-ball.
Softball and basketball
Martin became very much interested in playing softball and basketball and found that she was good at the two sports.
Being raised around a brother and his friends, Martin was also interested in playing football in junior high school, but the school would not allow her to play.
“So, I cheered,” she said. “And I cheered for a state championship squad.”
Martin continued to succeed at softball and basketball and was quick to point out her favorite sport was basketball.
While the school would not allow her to play football, Martin continued to play backyard football and pick-up basketball games with her brother and the guys. While her parents were scared she was going to get hurt, Martin actually broke a guy’s collarbone during a backyard football game.
“I am not scared of any guy,” Martin said. “Playing against my brother and his friends is how I became aggressive. I played against people who were better than I was. That’s how I learned.”
Martin won most of her awards in high school as a freshman at Cullman High School where she was a track star.
She finished third in the state in the high jump and jumped 5-foot, 10-inches.
The move to Moody
Moody became home to Martin in 1997, the year she was a senior in high school. She continued to excel in softball and basketball.
She also played volleyball while at Moody and was a striker on the team. She was named the team MVP by her teammates.
In her one season as a member of the Moody basketball squad, Martin set a single-game scoring record that still stands today. She scored 48 points in a game against Munford in 1998.
In basketball, she was named MVP of the county tournament and was also named First Team All-State player. She averaged 25 points per game. She hit 85 percent of her free throws.
When the softball season rolled around, Martin was playing for coaches Kim Harbuck and Wes Simpson. She played centerfield and shortstop. She earned a Golden Glove award and the team went 19-1.
“It was my first year to play fast pitch, so I had a lot to learn,” Martin said. “I want to thank Coach Harbuck and Coach Simpson for teaching me how to play fast pitch softball in just a few short weeks. Coach Simpson taught me how to bunt — just catch the ball with the bat and lay it down for a bunt.”
Martin also ran track and ran the 40-yard dash in 4.9 seconds.
Offers come rolling in
Gadsden State wanted Martin to come play basketball while Southern Union and South Alabama wanted her to come play softball. She chose Southern Union because they allowed her to play both softball and basketball.
Martin also excelled in the classroom and had a 3.9 GPA while at Moody High. She was a member of the Honor Society.
Injury forces retirement
After only one season at Southern Union, Martin sustained an injury to her right shoulder.
“They wanted to do surgery to tighten my ligaments up, but I did not have the surgery,” Martin said. “I chose to follow another path.”
Martin enrolled at Jeff State and earned her associates in Science and is currently going to the University of Alabama at Birmingham to become a nurse.
She switched her major to health education and needs five classes left and an internship to get her degree.
“It’s very important for me to get that,” Martin said. “I want people to know it is never too late to get a degree.”
Martin has two daughters — Alexus Martin is 15, while Adajia McGinester is 11. Both daughters appear to be following right in their mother’s footsteps as both attend the Moody schools and both are involved in sports.
Martin said although her parents were not tough on her, she is extremely tough on her two daughters.
“I am tough on them because I believe they can succeed,” Martin said. “They know they have it in them, they just need me to bring it out of them. I’m getting them ready for college. I was talented enough, but mentally, I don’t think I was ready for the coaching. Just because you are the big dog in high school does not mean you will be the big dog in college. There are many big dogs in college. Everyone will be just as good as you, if not better. You have to be coachable.”
The two daughters
Alexus, better known as Gator, plays volleyball, basketball, and softball and was also a cheerleader. Her favorite sport is basketball.
“Funny thing is that she did not want to play basketball,” Martin said. “I told her she was not going to cheer in the seventh grade if she did not play basketball. And basketball ended up being her favorite sport. She is a quick learner, which helps her excel in all sports.”
When school resumes in the fall, Alexus will be a sophomore at Moody High. Her mother hopes there is a sport scholarship awaiting her in college.
Adajia loves basketball and played soccer and softball. She also has an ear for music.
Seeing herself in her daughters
Martin admits when she sees her daughters competing on the field, she does see herself back in the day.
“I don’t like to try and compare,” she said. “Everybody has their own strengths. It does make me proud to come watch them play. That’s why I try to make sure I am at everything, although I am torn at times because I can’t be at two places at one time.”
Recently, Martin had a chance to travel to Montgomery to see Alexus compete for a Class 5A state softball crown. Alexus and the Lady Blue Devils were in the championship round, but finished runner-up in the state to Mortimer Jordan. It is the first time in the history of Moody High School that a sporting team finished runner-up in the state. They brought come the huge red trophy shaped like the state of Alabama.
Contact Gary Hanner at email@example.com.