MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Sports

August 4, 2013

Players, fans meet their inspirations

STILLWATER – There are some fans that attended Saturday’s Oklahoma State University Football Fan Appreciation Day at Gallagher-Iba Arena that are just a face in the crowd. Others are more recognizable to players like Stillwater’s Jason Martin, who in some ways serves as an inspiration for the Cowboys.

“When (Jason) goes to practices, the players can learn a little about how hard life can be and how good they have it,” said Juston Martin, Jason’s older brother from Stillwater. “No matter how hard a day they got, their day can still be a little tougher.”

Martin, was a near-drowning victim when he was a year and a half old and is currently in a wheelchair. Juston said Jason helps players realize what is important.

“He’s a reminder to all the players to live everyday to the fullest and work hard and enjoy life,” Martin said.

During the event, redshirt sophomore quarterback J.W. Walsh shook hands with Martin as he went through the line. Junior safety Lyndell Johnson said Jason Martin is a great supporter.

“We appreciate him when he comes out,” Johnson said. “Every time he comes out, we go out and show him some love.”

Juston said he and Jason are excited about this season especially with Oklahoma State favored to win the Big 12.

“The players seem focused this year on their goals,” Martin said. “I don’t think that will change at all.”

Many fans agreed with the Martins.

“We’re season ticket holders,” Jeremy Flynt from Tulsa said. “We’re pretty excited about it. We should be better. High expectations.”

Though there were many Stillwater folks that came out, many came from all over the state – including one who came from outside of the state in Brad Wagner, 14, from St. Louis, Mo.

“We are visiting my aunt and uncle,” Wagner said. “We are big fans and wanted to get some autographs.”

Missouri was once home to a Big 12 school until last year when the Missouri Tigers switched to the SEC. Wagner’s aunt Dawn Wilson said Wagner liked the Tigers also but his real allegiance lies with the Cowboys.

“He liked the Missouri Tigers but they left,” Wilson said. “He likes the Cowboys better.”

Many fans in attendance had several different players they were looking forward to interacting with.

“I like Justin Gilbert,” Jaron Foote, 8, from Tulsa said. “He’s fast.”

“(Caleb Lavey) shows the most leadership potential on the defense,” Triston Cayote from Alva said. “Usually rounds everyone up. He’s a good team player.”

“I like Jeremy Smith, he’s a good player,” Wagner said.

Senior Clint Chelf, got a lot of attention after starting the last five games in 2012 but Walsh definitely had his fair share of supporters.

“I went to a dance marathon at OSU and got to play basketball with (Walsh),” said Jayse Beverage, a 12-year-old from Shawnee.

“He’s a good quarterback and I want to play just like him,” Ethan Jenlink, 9, from Jet said.

Saturday’s event wasn’t only fun for the fans it was for the players as well.

“Seeing the fan base come out and support us is always a good time,” sophomore receiver David Glidden said.

“The little kids come up to you and recognize you,” Johnson said. “The parents and grandparents come up. It’s always fun to see the smiles on their faces and come up to you. I had a few people come up to me and say ‘It’s cool seeing you in person, we always hear your name during the game. It goes to show you they pay attention and know who you are.”

– Andrew Glover is a sports writer for the Stillwater NewsPress.

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