stallardfacebook.jpg

— Jack Stallard is sports editor of the Longview News-Journal. Email: jstallard@news-journal.com; follow on Twitter @lnjsport

Faith Robinson is the kind of player you can’t help noticing on the basketball court.

Always smiling. Always hustling. The kind of player that sometimes makes me feel guilty I get paid to watch sports.

A week ago at Kilgore College’s Masters Gymnasium, I had a chance to see her team – Bossier Parish Community College – take on the Kilgore College Lady Rangers in a Region XIV Conference game at Masters Gymnasium, and according to BPCC coach Brenda Nichols, Robinson did what she always does.

She was dominant inside the paint, scoring 10 points and collecting 22 rebounds to go along with two blocked shots and a couple of assists. Her team lost, but Robinson hustled from the opening tip to the final buzzer.

And, she never quit smiling.

Thankfully, Robinson and her team had departed the court when I got another reminder that sometimes people who claim to be fans are so clueless they couldn’t find a clue in a field full of clues wearing clue musk during clue mating season.

“They ought to make those kids cover up those gang tattoos,” the fan said as he walked past the scorer’s table on his way out of the gym – I assume to go resume his perfect life.

The “gang tattoo” in question was on Robinson’s neck. It was three crosses.

“I got it three weeks ago,” Robinson said Monday when I called Nichols and the coach got her player out of study hall to visit with me. “I wanted the three crosses to represent the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Each one means something different. One is strength, one is deliverance and one is healing. It’s just my way of showing God can do multiple things. It’s very meaningful to me. When I’m down and need some reassurance, I look at it and it lifts me up.”

The sad thing is, the fan — who probably also claims to be a Christian — saw a kid with tattoos and immediately assumed the worst. I guess he stayed home the day the preacher gave the sermon about not passing judgement on others.

If it sounds like I’m doing the same to the fan, forgive me. But, as someone who has been fortunate to hang around young athletes for the past 36 years, I can’t stomach adults picking on a kid or assuming that kid is a bad person because they don’t fit a profile the fan has created in his or her mind.

Are there some knuckleheads out there playing high school and college sports? Absolutely.

But most of the time the fans are wrong when they see a kid with multiple tattoos, or a different hair style – or maybe a kid who talks a little too much after a big play – and decide that kid is a punk. Or worse, a gangbanger.

And the fan who put Robinson in that category couldn’t have been more wrong if he went off to a big university somewhere and majored in Wrong.

“She’s the most unselfish kid you’ll ever meet,” coach Nichols said of Robinson. “Every night she comes to the court, puts her shoes on and is just smiling and bringing the energy. She’s just one of those kids who smiles all the time, has a great personality and is fun to be around. She’s an amazing kid.”

Nichols recruited Robinson heavily when Robinson played at West Monroe High School. She thought she had her signed, but Robinson decided to go a different direction and concentrate on academics at Grambling University.

When Nichols found out Robinson had left Grambling to go back home, she told Robinson to get to Bossier City by 8 a.m. the day school started so she could start classes and join the team.

“She said yes ma’am, and she’s told me multiple times how happy she is to be back on the court where she needs to be,” Nichols said.

Robinson, in return, wants to pay it forward.

“I want to turn it around and share what I’ve gained from this by either being a coach or an athletic trainer. …whatever I think I can do to help others the most,” Robinson said. “I just want to find a way to do something for others, to maybe help them get to the next level.”

I don’t know about you, but that sort of makes me want to join Robinson’s gang.

Recommended For You


— Jack Stallard is sports editor of the Longview News-Journal. Email: jstallard@news-journal.com; follow on Twitter @lnjsport