Former UA player: We are all created to win

Published 12:01 am Saturday, June 13, 2015

Trece Mays, Sheila Sasser, Martin Houston and SalLee Sasser-Williams at Andalusia Manor. | Michele Gerlach/Star-News

Trece Mays, Sheila Sasser, Martin Houston and SalLee Sasser-Williams at Andalusia Manor. | Michele Gerlach/Star-News

When Martin Houston was a starting fullback for the University of Alabama, no one really noticed if he did his job well.

“I was blocking for Siran Stacey, Sherman Williams and Derrick Lassic,” he recalled Friday in Andalusia.

“Better yet, Jay Barker is the quarterback. If I make a block, and Jay Barker completes a pass to Prince Wimberly for a touchdown, you hear nothing about me. But if I don’t make the block, the announcer would say, ‘Oh, Martin Houston missed a block and Jay Barker got sacked.’ ”

Speaking to certified nurse assistants (CNAs) during an appreciation lunch at Andalusia Manor, Houston asked said many in the room probably often feel no one notices what they do.

“The better I was with my job on the field, the less people knew about me,” he said. “Except the people who mattered.

“My coaches and my teammates – those people who sweated and bled with me – they saw me and appreciated me.”

Houston, who was on the ’92 championship team and went on to play for the Steelers, said he believes every person was created for significance.

“No matter what your skill sets are; no matter what you do, every one of us was created to win,” he said. “But we live in a society and in a time when we are conditioned to lose. By what people say, what they do.”

He used an example of fleas. Instinctively, he said, they just jump. But in an experiment in which they were put into a jar with a lid on it, the fleas eventually quit jumping. The experimenter took the lid off, and the fleas remained in the jar.

“Eventually, one flea started to jump, and the rest of them followed,” he said.

“I believe that we as humans are so easily conditioned to settle; to not go after what is for us; to not be champions in life,” he said. “My point to you is every one of you can be a champion in life.”

That doesn’t mean every person can be a millionaire, or famous, he said.

“But you still can be a champion in life,” he said.

Houston encouraged the CNAs to see the greater good in the work they do.

“Sometimes, we can get so caught up in the minutiae and details that we lose perspective of the big picture and the impact we’re really having,” he said. “It’s a much bigger picture than just changing a bed or lifting a patient. You are giving somebody the quality of life; dignity they would not have if it weren’t for you.”

He also encouraged the workers to pursue their dreams.

“Is it too late? Maybe. But maybe not,” he said. “If you still have breath in your body, you still have things you need to do.

“Don’t ever settle,” he said. “Don’t ever start listening to the lid telling you that you can’t, or you never will. Screw that lid off and dream again. It may be something really small. You may think you’re too old. But I just saw a 92-year-old woman run a 26-mile marathon.

“Personally,” he said. “That’s not on my bucket list.”

“Pick something out somebody told you you couldn’t do and now go do it.”

One action toward a goal is worth 1,000 intentions, he said.

Finally, he said, each of us can impact people we never know about.

“I think of a football coach who came and picked me up for practice because my mom worked her butt off and couldn’t get me to practice,” he said. “Because of what he did, I kept playing. Because of football, I got an education. And I developed a passion for empowering people.”