As the Summer season is upon us with everything it has to offer including the wonderfully hot sun, the trips to the beach to surf and play in the water, the picnics with hot dogs, hamburgers, potato salad and of course the cold beverage that accompanies it, the children playing with the water just to stay cool and the Fourth of July Parade and Celebration that of course come with those fantastic Fireworks. This got me thinking about all the wonderful summer vacations that I spent in my hometown of Redwood City, California when I was a young boy some of these memories are priceless and will live in my mind eternally. I remember that on a typical summer day well at least during the week, I would wake up and get ready to go to a Summer youth program hosted and sponsored by a local church called “Church of Christ” which is now called “Redwood Church” on Madison Avenue. The activities included a morning sing along and a baseball game using a whiffle ball or plastic baseball, then their would be probably some activity like arts and crafts or sometimes we would walk to the park and go swimming that was really fun even though I went swimming everyday in the summer at the Sid Herkner Pool because it was free remember this is 1976 or 1977 and Redwood City was still growing as a city. The weekends were also fun for me because I remember every Saturday I would go with my favorite aunt to go grocery shopping for the week it was quite an interesting experience we would go to four different supermarkets including Continental Market which was located on Roosevelt Avenue, QFI which was located on Broadway Street, Canned Food which is now Grocery Outlet on Broadway Street and the last stop was La Azteca Market located on Chestnut Street near McDonald’s, I did this shopping trip with my aunt so many times that if she ever got sick and if then I would have been able to drive a car I would have been able to do the shopping trip by myself but thankfully that did not happen because it was always fun to go grocery shopping with her. Another great part of my Summer memories in Redwood City would always be the Fourth of July Parade in Downtown Redwood City with the floats, marching bands, clowns, carnival rides, festival and of course to cap off the night with those beautifully famous fireworks and the small fireworks that you were able to light up in front of your home before they passed the law that prohibits fireworks near homes because of the fear of forest fires and fires in general, in my opinion to this day the Fourth of July is the greatest holiday celebrated here in Redwood City by really great people. As the summer starts to wrap up by the middle of August, the football season is just around the corner and if you use to live in Redwood City you know that the San Francisco 49ers would open their Training Camp and Facility near Red Morton Park again this was many years ago but I remember getting many autographs including O.J. Simpson, “Hacksaw” Reynolds, Joe Montana, Dwight Clark, Fred Dean and coach Bill Walsh, The 49ers were and always will be the pride of Redwood City the five time Super Bowl Champions made their mark here no matter what time of the season it was. Redwood City is my hometown and I am happy to spend all those Summer vacations, all those wonderful memories and I would not ever change a thing.
As I was sitting in the Menlo Park Presbyterian Church during the Memorial Services for former College of San Mateo football, women’s basketball and softball head coach and Physical Education Instructor, Thomas Albert Martinez or as it was properly titled “Celebrating the Life of Thomas Albert Martinez,” I was not surprised by how crowded the church was in his honor or by the message that was repeated over and over that Tom Martinez was a wonderful coach, a wonderful person and a genuine individual that loved not only his own family but everybody else as well. I guess what did surprise me was by how many people’s lives Coach Martinez touched and helped during his career and lifetime even when he was very sick and ill he would still go to his football training camp and/or quarterback camp in a wheelchair and still work out and train committed athletes like a Tom Brady or a John Elway. The other thing that surprised me about Tom Martinez how long his career was let me put it this way, he started teaching and coaching in 1966 that is three years before I was born and I am now 42 years old so that would make it close to 45 years of commitment and devotion to not only athletes, fans, coaches and friends but to the State of California and the California Community College System how about that. Coach Martinez had a very special and unique love for the College of San Mateo and the Bulldogs where his coaching career in Junior college and/or Community college began and why not he led all three teams that he was the head coach of to successful season(s) never a losing season especially in Women’s Basketball where he has led the Lady Bulldogs to four Northern California Titles and let us not forget all the success he had in both the Golden Gate Conference as well as the Coast Conference. He was also a kind of person that would always be there if you needed him and/or his help and he was training and coaching you but the secret there is you would need to call and contact him he did not call or contact any of the athletes he was training he would wait for them to call him which gave him the message that they now need his help, knowledge and expertise. If there is one sad note and/or regret regarding the Memorial Services is that Coach Tom Martinez did not get the Kidney transplant operation that probably could have saved his life so he could keep teaching and touching lives like he has always done. As I was listening to his son, Thomas Alan Martinez comment on his father and his coaching style; “No excuses, just get the job done,” it does not get any simpler than that “Do what you love to do and take great pride in what you do” Mr. Martinez took great pride in his teams, his athletes and of course his greatest team his loving and close family. I remember when I was a student at College of San Mateo in 2000 I believe and I went to visit Coach Tom Martinez in his office he would be returning telephone calls from his voice mail and we just changed our area code from 415 to 650 this was six to eight months after the change and he would dial a telephone number then in a spur of the moment look at me and say “so it is 650 now not 415?” I responded yes coach that is correct. I still though will always remember the conversation I had with him a few days he found out that he had only a year to live, being the idiot that I was I thought he was joking or making a joke his response “No I am dead serious!” that immediately gave me chills and nerves I took my hat off to him he was extremely brave and that I will never ever forget that about Tom Martinez, but Coach Martinez did have a lighter and funny side one time when I was at Foothill College I offered to get him a Foothill College athletics sweatshirt as a gift his response was “you know what I am going to do with it” wear it I answered he just smiled and said “no I am going to place over the bathroom stall and/or toilet get the picture.” That was the kind of person Thomas Albert Martinez was a great leader, a great coach with also a great sense of humor. I guess I will also agree with the comment and/or remark that the Pastor made close to the end of the Memorial Services, “Tom Martinez was a great and unique individual that loved and cared for everybody, this world needs more people like Tom Martinez,” I could not agree more with that statement. I cannot say this enough thank you Coach Martinez for all the great memories and exciting games you have given us may God Bless You and may you Rest In Peace.
Donations can be made in Thomas Albert Martinez’s name to one of the following organizations: Tom Martinez Appreciation Award c/o San Mateo County Community College District Foundation, 3401 CSM Drive, San Mateo, California 94402, www.TomMartinezFund.com or Matching Donors www.matchingdonors.com or the National Kidney Foundation www.kidney.org
Former College of San Mateo Football and Women’s Basketball coach, Tom Martinez is in urgent need of a Kidney Transplant, I guess time is running out on Coach Martinez who has coached over 1400 victories in his 32 years at the College of San Mateo and the Bulldogs. Martinez has also coached and mentored several professional athletes including New England Patriots football quarterback, Tom Brady. Mr. Tom Martinez is a great coach and a wonderful person, I would like to help spread the word around about helping him to get a new Kidney and his Kidney Transplant that he so urgently needs. If you are interested in donating your Kidney or know of someone that is very interested in donating their Kidney for Coach Tom Martinez you can either get in contact with Mr. Martinez directly or contact the Johns Hopkins Medical Center – Kidney Transplant Division. In closing, please help spread the news about Coach Tom Martinez’s needed Kidney Transplant because time is of the essense.