SHAFFER: Eddie Rob’s 100th birthday

Cartoon drawn by Deshantey Coleman

This article is dedicated to a man that would’ve made 100 years old. Eddie G. Robinson was born on Feb. 13, 1919. Robinson always dreamed to be a football coach. His record shows that he won 408 games. He loved what he did and was humble about his job. Personally, I appreciate his loyalty to African Americans and to not only football, but also basketball and baseball.

Robinson is still recognized by college coaches all around the world. He is known as an expert coach and one of the greatest in history.  I wonder if he ever believed that his calling in his life would be so big, and that this would be possible for him coming from Mississippi at the time of discrimination.

Even after he got his bachelor’s degree, he went back to Baton Rouge working at the Feed Mill for $0.25 an hour. At the age of 22 he became Grambling State University’s head football coach.

Robinson was the “father” to the players on the road. He cut the field grass and fed the players because blacks weren’t allowed in the restaurants.  

Robinson was an all-around man’s man because he did everything, including writing the sports articles for the newspaper. He was an amazing man and I have so much respect for him as a person and what he did for his legacy.

In 1983, Grambling State University named its football stadium after him. Also in 1985, 13th Street in Baton Rouge has renamed the street after this great man.  In 2010, $3.3 million was appropriated by the state legislature for the Eddie Robinson Museum to provide a forum for his achievements.

Robinson has shown African Americans that with hard work, loyalty, patience and dedication your dreams can become reality. I might not understand his struggles as a black man coming from nothing, but what I do relate to is having an African American son that has dreams of playing sports. Due to the legacy of Eddie Robinson I can tell my son of all the greatness he left behind and that will give him hope in his future. If Robinson made it, my son has a chance at the same victory.  I’m forever grateful for his works in our community.

If I had an opportunity to have Robinson here to celebrate his 100th birthday I would love to observe some of his wisdom to share with my son. I would also ask him a question about the secrets to his longevity. Just being in his presence would be a blessing and honor itself. Also, I would just thank him for filling his plan and purpose for not only Grambling State University, but for anyone that knows and supports him.