After devastating injury, Larry Robinson reflects on his time spent at Saline
The image of a team’s starting quarterback lying vulnerable on the ground in obvious pain is enough to make one stop and gasp, almost as if the clocks have stopped ticking. At that point in time, nothing else seems to matter on the field.
The thrilling week 1 win in the Big House? Forgotten at that moment.
A future so bright, one that’s next step is Division 1 football. Hard to think of when one is writhing in pain.
The problems an offense will certainly face in the coming weeks. Moot point.
That’s what one can imagine teammates and coaches felt on September 1st, days after an exciting victory over the Hudsonville Eagles, when Saline Senior and star Quarterback Larry Robinson heard a pop in his knee after running a route in practice. In a sport where injuries are so common, in the last four NFL seasons there have been an average of fifty ACL tears per season, this particular one is a bit more heartbreaking. Robinson stated “I just laid on the ground [immobilized], and felt pure frustration.”
When a Quarterback goes down, there is often a snowball effect on the rest of the team. In this case, Robinson is more than just a Quarterback but an emotional leader, friend, and representative of the town. A 3 year varsity starter, he has built trust not only with his teammates but with his coaches as well. He says “the main reason I came to Saline in the first place was because of Coach Palka and the relationship we have.”
Growing up in Detroit, Robinson had the option to attend local schools and compete at the High School level with his elementary school friends. Yet, he opted for a unique path, choosing to attend Saline High School in order to advance his football career along with a great education. However, coming into a completely new scene is often a challenging and scary concept, yet Robinson assures me his Saline teammates and their families have embraced him. He says “sometimes when I don’t want to drive forty-five minutes home, my teammates and their families will let me stay over at their house for days or even weeks... they have really embraced me.”
A darker moment in Robinson’s time spent at Saline was the terrible comments made by his former teammates about other African American students. In a city that has been recently marred by racial incidents, Robinson appreciated the way the community responded to the actions. “It was a fight for me and my black peers, being that these were supposed to be my teammates, but I thought the school had our backs and we bounced back pretty well.”
One can imagine when a player and person of that caliber becomes injured, the team seems to relegate to a different state. However, even after the injury Robinson has emerged as a capable leader, one who wears khakis and polos instead of jerseys and cleats. He’s helped C.J. Carr grows as a quarterback and preaches to his team to “focus on winning every day.” Oftentimes when injured, players can tend to check out, especially one with a future as bright as Robinson. Yet, Robinson has found a way to emerge as an emotional beacon, one who can provide invaluable advice to younger players.
However, after an injury as gruesome as the one he suffered, the Hornet's chances to make it to the State title certainly took a dive. Without arguably their most versatile and experienced player, Saline has lost an extremely valuable player. Nonetheless, Robinson has full confidence in his team as he says “I’ve got faith in the rest of the guys to go out and perform.” It will be a challenge however, one that has only increased in light of the Robinson injury.
Reflecting back on his time spent in Saline is a positive retrospection that brings back good memories to Robinson. Through his four years spent at Saline, he feels that he has made great bonds, one that can last beyond his High School years. As he takes the next step toward Division 1 football at Army, Robinson knows that Friday Night Football are days that people look back on and appreciate. Not being able to have those moments during his senior year is a blow, but the smaller moments will be looked back upon fondly. Robinson said “some of my favorite memories are being in the hallways with my friends, or going to practice with people I have great bonds with.” When a newcomer emerges at a High School for the first time, oftentimes there is a long adjustment period. However, Robinson has been embraced by the city and community, just as much as he has made his mark on them.