Bobby Martin, 17, football player with no legs
September 28, 2005 9:13 PM   Subscribe

Bobby Martin, 17 years old, is a noseguard and special teams member for Colonel White High School in Dayton, Ohio. He also happens to be three feet tall, having been born with no legs. He was recently removed from a game during halftime because he wasn't wearing shoes, thighpads, or kneepads. Fortunately, wiser heads prevailed shortly thereafter.
posted by cerebus19 (37 comments total)
Oh, yeah. He plays football, in case that wasn't clear.
posted by cerebus19 at 9:14 PM on September 28, 2005

I call your high school football player without legs and raise you a high school wrestler without legs or hands.
posted by bdk3clash at 9:20 PM on September 28, 2005

Martin's been a wrestler, too, as it happens, though I can't find the article where I read that at the moment.

Still, in football you do have to have some way to get down the field, right? So at least hands would seem to be required.
posted by cerebus19 at 9:23 PM on September 28, 2005

I'm interested in the logistics of how he plays.
posted by dazed_one at 9:24 PM on September 28, 2005

Three feet tall still seems pretty big to be covering some guy's nose.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 9:31 PM on September 28, 2005

Born with no legs and the parents called him BOBBY? Sick bastards.
posted by wilful at 9:33 PM on September 28, 2005

He was kicked out of the game while playing at Mount Healthy High School? That's just perfect.
posted by dsword at 9:36 PM on September 28, 2005

you ever read something that, as soon as you got to the juicy bit, circus music started playing in your head?

or maybe, for you, it was the looney tunes theme: When the Merry Go Round Goes Down. Or maybe it was the song from benny hill: Yakkety Sax.

either way, that's what happened when I read this. no matter what that ref had to say to this kid by way of explanation, in my head it is accompanied by circus music.

doot doot doodeedoodee doot deet doodee.
doot doot doodeedoodee doot deet doodee.
brrrrrrrump badadadump rrrump badadadump.

ad infinitum.
posted by shmegegge at 9:47 PM on September 28, 2005

shmegegge: Damn you for making me cry (with laughter).
posted by numlok at 9:53 PM on September 28, 2005

I saw that no hands/no legs guy wrestle in high school, he's pretty good. So good, in fact, there was debate over what weight class he should be in. Drop off the limb weight and make it up with pure trunk muscle, you know.
posted by TheSpook at 10:00 PM on September 28, 2005

Ouch. Ohio's Athletic Association has said an official was wrong for kicking a Dayton high school football player, who has no legs, out of a game.
posted by thejoshu at 10:02 PM on September 28, 2005

Ohio's Athletic Association has said an official was wrong for kicking a Dayton high school football player, who has no legs

posted by shmegegge at 11:05 PM on September 28, 2005

could someone explain to me, a european who knows nothing about american football, what exactly it is he does on the field? I don't get it.

shmegegge: it's the theme from benny hill for me, always the theme from benny hill
posted by mr.marx at 1:19 AM on September 29, 2005

Question for you, Shmegegge:

When you read a story about a black person being discriminated against what comes to your head? Does the KKK come riding in?

When you read about a story about a Latino, do you get Speedy Gonzales music?
posted by Bueller at 1:35 AM on September 29, 2005

That boy must need a hell of a cup.
posted by Poagao at 2:15 AM on September 29, 2005

I see your high school wrestler without legs or hands and I raise you a nineteenth century explorer and member of parliament with no arms or legs.
posted by sinead at 2:22 AM on September 29, 2005

Great googly moogly, bueller, who put horseradish in your rice krispies this morning? I read Shmegegge's post as a light-hearted way of saying that the referee that kicked Martin out of the game was a clown (thus the circus music). Ease up, already.
posted by googly at 4:41 AM on September 29, 2005

A relative of mine is a teacher at Col. White, and this guy is an inspiration to handicapped people everywhere.
posted by adzm at 5:57 AM on September 29, 2005

By the way, the circus music, it's called the March of the Gladiators. Yeah, that one was hard for me to wrap my brain around too.
posted by Pollomacho at 6:08 AM on September 29, 2005

My stepbrother was born with only 7 fingers and he's a rock climber in Boulder, Colorado. I think it's a form of overcompensation.
posted by scratch at 6:40 AM on September 29, 2005

Martin's been a wrestler, too, as it happens, though I can't find the article where I read that at the moment.

The article mentions his second-place finish in a city-wide tournament when he was in middle school.

Admirable and all that, but the photographs are just surreal to view. They don't look real.
posted by Doohickie at 6:41 AM on September 29, 2005

I'd like to echo Mr.Marx's request for clarification . . . . what does a "nose tackle" do?
posted by jamesonandwater at 6:54 AM on September 29, 2005

googly, thank you for clarifying that.

I had no idea my comment could be construed to be a slur against the kid. Really. didn't occur to me. I see it now, I guess. But really, it was meant to point out how ridiculous any rationalization the ref could give would sound.
posted by shmegegge at 6:55 AM on September 29, 2005

Mr. Marx & jamesonandwater: In American football, a nose guard (or nose tackle) is the defensive player that lines up directly opposite the center (the person who snaps the ball to the quarterback). The nose tackle is usually the biggest, strongest player on the team - in pro football, many weigh 340 pounds or more - thus making Martin's accomplishment all the more impressive.

shmegegge: yw.
posted by googly at 7:12 AM on September 29, 2005

I wonder if he actually has a competitive advantage with his low center of gravity and the placement of his arms relative to the other players' legs?
posted by footnote at 7:24 AM on September 29, 2005

I saw this story in last Friday's McPaper (USA Today). For those unfamiliar with American Football, the nose tackle is on the defense (which is on the field when the opposing team's OFFENSE has the ball.) The defense's job is to tackle the guy carrying the ball (while offensive blockers try to stop the defensive player from getting to the guy with the ball). This normally involves running with your legs, something this guy does with his hands/arms.

If that wasn't amazing enough, he also plays on SPECIAL TEAMS (where your kicker punts *or kicks-off* the ball to the other team). The kicking team must run halfway down the field to try to tackle the guy who is now running towards you. The article said this guy has a special teams TACKLE.

Color me impressed. The parents of this kid clearly did a lot RIGHT. (His name is probably actually Robert.)
posted by spock at 7:31 AM on September 29, 2005

Having his arms near the other players' legs is not an advantage, as tackles below the waist are illegal in American football.
posted by cerebus19 at 8:57 AM on September 29, 2005

Say whaaaaa???
posted by spock at 9:08 AM on September 29, 2005

Just when you think you've seen it all... I can (almost) believe a defensive lineman with no legs (it would, obviously, be impossible to block him by taking his legs out from under him), but I can't picture him running downfield on kick coverage.

It's fascinating to try and explain something that's so obvious to people who have grown up with it. To expand on what googly said, the center (in the center of the offensive line) is bent over to hike the ball -- pass it back through his legs -- to the quarterback, which starts each play. The defensive player hulking opposite him is thus right over his nose.

The Wikipedia entry says "Nose guards tend to be shorter than most other defensive linemen so they can get through the gaps easier. They are also very fast and very strong." These things seem extremely true of Bobby Martin.
posted by LeLiLo at 9:18 AM on September 29, 2005

tackles below the waist are illegal in American football

It's not tackling below the waist that's illegal, it's blocking, as in clipping: "Throwing the body across the back of an opponent's leg or hitting him from the back below the waist while moving up from behind unless the opponent is a runner or the action is in close line play." Or a crackback: "Eligible receivers who take or move to a position more than two yards outside the tackle may not block an opponent below the waist if they then move back inside to block."
posted by LeLiLo at 9:26 AM on September 29, 2005

I'm glad cooler heads prevailed.

Is anyone irritated at the fact that every time you hear about disabled people in the news it's all about how "inspiring" they are? I would hate to have a disability AND be told daily what an inspiration I am because of it.
posted by agregoli at 9:41 AM on September 29, 2005

I just would like to interject a small bit of language use here.

Given the choice between saying "handicapped people", or "people with handicaps" it is generally considered more polite to use people first language. As in, "there is a man who is blind" rather then "there is a blind man".

I fully realize that writing this may open me to some who would shout PC nazi or some such banality. But, there are reasons for such use. People first language implies that a person has a disability (or some other attribute), not that a person is wholly defined by that disability(or attribute). I, in no way wish to suggest that anyone consciously is implying the later. It may seem a small and quibbling point to many reading this, but it does make a difference. If not to the person you speak to, then to how you sound.

This is an interesting article, thanks for posting it.
posted by edgeways at 10:21 AM on September 29, 2005

Agregoli, is it not possible that some might get a sense of joy from it - a sense of having a special purpose that can only be fulfilled by virtue of the disability?

Martin: "I love the reaction people have when I make a tackle," says Martin, "like it’s impossible for me do it. I prove them wrong."
posted by RMALCOLM at 10:34 AM on September 29, 2005

I'm sure it does give some people a sense of joy - I've heard plenty though that say it makes them feel awful, and I think I'd feel that way too. I don't want my very existance and daily life to be an inspiration to anyone - that's not why I'm here. I'm more than that.

Good read example says it better than I can.
posted by agregoli at 10:58 AM on September 29, 2005

Excellent post! I forwarded it on to my Dad who runs and coaches the local football youth league near Jacksonville. He also covers local high school sports (and sometimes Jaguars games) for the local paper. He wrote a great (maybe peripherally-related) article on a local kid.
posted by ObscureReferenceMan at 10:59 AM on September 29, 2005

Bueller:LOL!! I, too, thought shmegegge's post was a little, er, weird.

Seriously, though, I don't understand how this kid can play football. I was a starting guard on the offensive line(to readers who don't know American football, this means that it would sometimes be my job to "block" the person playing noseguard. Depending on the type of play the offense was trying to execute, this could mean either trying to run the noseguard over so that the quarterback or running back could run the ball upfield without being tackled, or if it was a passing play, to prevent the noseguard from tackling our quarterback before he threw the pass) for our high school varsity team, which is to say that I'm no athletic superstar but I have good knowledge of the techniques and mechanics involved in the game. If I were blocking this guy, I'd hit him with a forearm in the helmet coming out of a three point stance on every single play. He'd tip over backwards. Or simply dive right at his head with my forearms extended, knock him over and land on top of him. An opposing coach would be foolish not to run the ball straight up the middle 90% of the time. Draw plays and traps all day long.

Does anyone who's played football have any thoughts?
posted by MjrMjr at 11:07 AM on September 29, 2005

Whoops. Sorry about the tackle vs. block mixup. I don't watch a lot of football.
posted by cerebus19 at 11:11 AM on September 29, 2005

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