Friday, April 13, 2007

R.I.P. Eddie Robinson

Lord, I've been remiss in posting about him. But you can't imagine what Coach Rob meant to generations of black children who grew up in North Louisiana. Grambling was our school, whether you had a family member who attended or not (I did--my grandfather and my Aunt Jo graduated from there).

One of my best childhood memories revolves around Grambling football. One Saturday, every fall, we'd get up, when it was barely light, to get ready for the homecoming parade. We had to drive a little bit and you had to get up early to get a good spot. So, we'd freeze to death, but be so excited. And it was wonderful--from the high school bands who emulated the Tiger Marching Band (including the Carroll High band affectionately known, in North Louisiana, as "Little Grambling") to the ultimate appearance of Miss Grambling.

After the parade, we'd go eat. No light fare on Homecoming Day, uh-uh. The more grease, the better, apparently. So, sometimes we went to Spivey's Chicken in Grambling--I still remember the slogan of Spivey-licious--but it was usually too crowded. And other years we went to the Griff's Hamburgers in Ruston, across the street and a world away from Louisiana Tech. The cooks there did their own thing to those burgers and they were good--if you didn't mind the arterial damage.

And then there was the game. Baby, the Orchesis Dancers would have you wishing for rhythm and synchronization. Those sisters were always on point. And halftime? I won't even go into the show the bands put on--you know all the stereotypes. :-) 90% of the time, I didn't even know who won the game and I had a good time anyway.

And Eddie Robinson presided over it all for fifty-seven years. Yep, I had to spell that one out. Fifty-seven years of dignity, humor, grace and love. Love for football and, more importantly, love for the generations of players whose lives he touched.
“When he walked on that field in 1941, it wasn't flat, it wasn't even, it was slanted up sharply,” [LA Senator Mary] Landrieu said. “It's not level yet, but because of his life it's getting there and we all are beneficiaries of that.”
God bless Coach Rob.


Courtney said...

The man was truly a legend.

Anonymous said...

Well said. Other than as a college football fan, I had no connection to Grambling, but I, too, was sad to see him pass. He was a class act all the way. Fifty-seven years in one job? That's unheard of these days. The one thing I kept hearing from his former players was that he strove to make them not only better football players, but better citizens and better people. What a role model.

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