Fri­days’ ‘Stump on Sports’ will be missed

Chattanooga Times Free Press - ChattanoogaNow - - VOICES - Con­tact Barry Courter at bcourter@times­freep­ress.com or 423-757-6354.

Stump Martin left us back in May, and I kind of knew then that the loss would be felt for much longer than the few days fol­low­ing his fu­neral. Now that fall Fri­day nights are here, it’s hard to imag­ine not hav­ing Stump and his ca­ble-ac­cess show, “Stump on Sports,” to keep us up-to-date, but the show is no more.

Stump’s wife, Deb, an­nounced on Face­book a few days ago that the show will not re­turn. Tak­ing its place is “Fri­day Night Sports” with Ed­die Up­shaw from 11 p.m. to mid­night on UCTV in North Ge­or­gia and on­line at uctv265.com.

I first met Marvin “Stump” Martin in 1968 when my fam­ily moved from LaFayette, In­di­ana, to Moun­tain View, Ge­or­gia. We lived two houses down from the Martins on Green­hill Drive for two years. I was 5 and he was 15, so we didn’t in­ter­act a whole lot, but he made a last­ing im­pres­sion. I didn’t see him at all af­ter we moved to Brainerd in 1970 un­til 20 years later when he started work­ing here at the pa­per in the Sports depart­ment.

I say all of that only to point out that I knew him for a long time. But what is on my mind to­day is that the lo­cal youth sports world has a pretty big hole in it right now. Espe­cially the young peo­ple. For 36 years, Stump, Deb and a cast of char­ac­ters in­clud­ing his brother, Michael “Chig” Martin, Ron “Red Zone” Hall, Rusty Parkhill, Scott Herpst and Rob Cov­ing­ton cov­ered the lo­cal high-school sports scene on “Stump on Sports.”

In many ways, it Barry Courter was ca­ble tele­vi­sion at its small-time best. It was silly some­times and down­right goofy or cringe-wor­thy at oth­ers, but it could also be poignant, pow­er­ful, timely, newsy and just plain fun to watch.

It was some­thing Stump took very se­ri­ously be­cause he knew how much it meant to the kids who got to be on TV and to their par­ents who got to watch them. From cheer­leader chal­lenges to post-game in­ter­views to the in-stu­dio ones, it was all about high­light­ing young ath­letes.

Stump un­der­stood that learn­ing how to han­dle your­self in such a pub­lic fo­rum was as much a part of the de­vel­op­ment of young peo­ple as learn­ing to hit a curve­ball with two outs and your team down one.

He loved watch­ing young boys and girls grow into young men and women through sports. Few peo­ple have done more in this area to not only help them, but to put them on a big stage for all to see. Thanks to all who put so much time and ef­fort into mak­ing the show for all of those years.

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