Martino’s birthday wish fulfilled by communities he loves
It was a chilly night, but Eino Martino (sitting) bundled up and continued to visit with two friends he’s known for 30 years, as well as the Hurley AD and head coach. Eino says he is so happy he got to see his two teams play. Eino Martino has lived in Cornell for most of his life, but he never stopped loving his hometown of Hurley. During a football game when Hurley played Cornell-Lake Holcombe Sept. 25, Eino donned his blue Chiefs jacket and his orange Hurley t-shirt, to cheer on both his teams.
Once a fan, always a fan, as proved by long-time Cornell resident and former coach Eino Martino, who not only wholeheartedly supports Cornell athletics, but also those in his hometown of Hurley. Eino graduated from Hurley High School in 1944, but has continued to follow the town’s sports and other happenings through the Iron County Miner.
“Seventy years, he’s been getting that paper,” said Eino’s daughter, Lisa Martino.
This year, with Hurley joining the Lakeland Conference for football, Eino was beyond excited to see his former school team. Then, the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
With restrictions on who could attend the game, Eino was left without a way to see his alma mater play, something he said he truly wanted to see in person, during his recent 95th birthday party.
Hurley was set to play the Cornell-Lake Holcombe Knights in Holcombe, Sept. 25, so Eino talked to Cornell principal Dave Elliott to see if they might make an exception, as Eino is as near a staple at games as you can get. Eino didn’t want to take anyone’s ticket away from them, he planned to just sit in his car and watch from the parking lot.
However, Eino was told he couldn’t go, because of WIAA and conference rules during the health crisis, even to see his two favorite teams.
“I get it, but then again, I don’t get it,” said Lisa. “Not that my dad is special, but my dad is special.” Eino, who coached for many years in Cornell, has also been inducted into the WIAA Coaching Hall of Fame, and Cornell’s track complex is named after him. Since it was a birthday wish, Eino’s granddaughter, Jayme Hink, reached out to the Hurley School District, to see if anyone had any extra tickets they weren’t using for the game.
She wasn’t sure she would hear back, as it was only a couple days before the game, but Jayme received a message from Hurley’s AD – an honorary fan ticket would be waiting for him at the gate. The only stipulation was that Eino and a plus one (which happened to be Lisa), needed to sit on the Hurley sidelines.
“I told him I didn’t think my grandpa would be opposed to that,” said Jayme.
Eino was met at the gate by two friends he’s known for more than 30 years, and he visited with the Hurley AD and head coach, all the while proudly sporting his blue Cornell Chiefs jacket, with his orange Hurley tshirt underneath.
“I told them, that was really nice of them to do what they did for me,” said Eino.
Eino even gets to see Hurley play once more close to home, with a game scheduled at Ladysmith, Oct. 30. Once again, Eino will be hailed as an honorary fan for the matchup.
“This, my friends, is what honor is about, this is human kindness at its finest,” said Jayme. “Thank you from the bottom of our hearts and his, for making his night.”
Cutline: It was a chilly night, but Eino Martino (sitting) bundled up and continued to visit with two friends he’s known for 30 years, as well as the Hurley AD and head coach. Eino says he is so happy he got to see his two teams play.[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="181"] Eino Martino has lived in Cornell for most of his life, but he never stopped loving his hometown of Hurley. During a football game when Hurley played Cornell-Lake Holcombe Sept. 25, Eino donned his blue Chiefs jacket and his orange Hurley t-shirt, to cheer on both his teams.[/caption]