But in spite of the hardships, for the first time in many years there is hope in the Marsh household, real hope that Curt's pain is finally behind him. In about six months Curt should be walking with a prosthesis, and in a year he might be playing hoops on the new court the family recently poured in the backyard. He plans to go back soon to his job as the youth coordinator for the city of Everett, Wash.; his insurance from that job has paid for most of his post-Raider medical bills. Marsh wants to resume traveling across the country talking to kids, making them aware of the importance of making sound decisions. He dreams of hiking on nearby Mount Pilchuck with the kids next fall.
"You know that I haven't run or jumped since 1987?" asks Marsh. "I haven't thrown a football with my boys except from a chair. Life with the ankle had been a series of bad days with a few good ones sprinkled in."
Today is a good day, one of many the Marsh family hopes will come. Today is Christopher's soccer game. The family piles into the van and heads to the field. It is Curt's first real outing since the amputation, and fans and friends flock to the wheelchair and the big bear of a man who sits in it, sucking on sunflower seeds.
"This is great," Marsh tells them as their glances turn toward his leg. "I get to drive right up to the field and sit the whole game. And I can park next to the door at the grocery store! A lineman's dream."
Jillian climbs on his lap. Chris scores a goal with his head. Curt raises his arms and lets out a giant roar.
He has yet to receive a card, flowers or even a phone call from Davis or any official in the Raider front office, except for coach Art Shell. "I heard a few years ago that Al Davis told some guys that he was disappointed because I didn't pan out," Marsh says and shakes his head. "My only regret is that I didn't see the long term earlier. I made some bad choices. I trusted people. Cutting off my foot and ankle is not what I thought would happen. But you know, I'm really O.K. about it. I really am. I'm going to get my life back."