Adrian Martinez was too young to remember exactly what the doctor's called it, but he knows the basics: It was cancer that took his mother, Deanna, from him, when he was 10 years old.
"It was some cancer in the liver, some hard-to-pronounce, really long name," says California's first 2018 commit.
Deanna Martinez grew up in Hanford, Calif., which is where she had Adrian. He was her world, friends and family have told him. When she passed away, it came as a shock.
http://www.scout.com/college/california/story/1730384-btc-part-ii-adrian... Like her son, Deanna was a tireless worker. She taught law at San Joaquin Valley College and the University of Phoenix, and eventually rose to become a United States Assistant District Attorney in Fresno. It was while working that she began to experience the discomfort which signaled that something was not quite right. Two weeks later, she was gone, at the age of 42.
"We didn't really know what it was," Martinez says. "She was in a lot of pain, and she was actually working on a case that she really wanted to finish, so she refused to go in to the doctor. Eventually we got her there, and it was about two weeks after she got diagnosed that she passed away. It was kind of a surprise. We weren't really expecting it to be anything much, and it turned out to be something really big."
So, when Martinez visited Berkeley this weekend for the Big Game, he seized the moment. After the game, he went up to offensive coordinator Jake Spavital and told him that he was ready to commit.
"It was definitely something that was on my mind for a while, and I've been talking to my family about it," he said. "We just thought, there was no point in waiting. It was the right fit, and I didn't think anything would come along that really beat Cal for me. The relationship to Spavital and the coaching staff in general, I just thought it was perfect for me. I wanted them to pull it out, but I didn't think the loss would hold me back from the way I felt.
"Once I got there, I had a feeling that it was for sure, that that was the place that I wanted to be, even on a rainy day, in Berkeley, I thought it was the best place for me."
Deanna and Martinez's father, Tony, have been hard workers, all his life. From his mother's law career to Tony, who started out as a $5/hour truck driver for Helena Chemical, and is now the company's Operational Manager, hard work is the only work Martinez knows.
For the moment, he says, he wants to major in business, but he readily admits that it's not set in stone; he's still researching the topic. He's more mature than most kids his age. He deftly moves between conversational topics without a hitch or hesitation, from speaking of his personal tragedy and the perspective it grants him, to his next football game, even to politics. Martinez is more mature -- and more self-aware -- than most people, of any age.
"She was almost a workaholic, and my dad is that way, too. I try to look at them, as far as my work ethic, and try to mirror that, in a way, as best as I can," he says. "He's had a lot of jobs in this one company, that he's been working at for over 30 years. He's worked his way up to the point he's at now, and he tries to do as much as he can, and he takes his job very seriously, and I want to be like that, too. Right now, my job is football and school, and I take those two things very seriously, and I try to work as hard as I can to be like him, in that aspect."
After Martinez -- who has a 3.4 GPA -- announced on Sunday that he was committing to the Bears, he got text messages from friends and family, who knew she'd be proud of him.
"She was a huge inspiration," he says. "I obviously wish she was still around, and I pray about her all the time. She's in my thoughts, and I think she's guided me to this day, and she was a great example to me, as far as hard work is concerned, and she loved me so much. That's all everyone ever says, is that I was her world. I work for her, I want to reach my goals for her, and I want her to be proud of me. It's something that fuels me, and hopefully, at the end of the day, she'll be proud of me."