GBI Magazine

Gold and Black Illustrated, Vol 27, Digital 6

Gold and Black is a multi-platform media company that covers Purdue athletics like no one else.

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 50 of 117

GOLD AND BLACK ILLUSTRATED VOLUME 27, ISSUE 6 51 so. Only days earlier, Robinson had returned from a trip to South Africa, part of a Purdue Fellowship of Christian Athletes trip organized by chaplain Marty Dittmar, and it was there he had accepted Christ into his life. At the Bethesda Outreach in South Africa, where Pur- due sends a volunteer group at least every summer, the children are without parents, often due to the AIDS epi- demic. The trip — Robinson has returned once since — was a humbling experience. It can be nothing but humbling when seeing others who have been given far less oppor- tunity, yet are still making the most of life. "It's incredible," Robinson said. "It shows you what is most valuable in life, and that's life itself. You get to see how happy these kids are with so much less. "I did (need that experience). I'm a student-athlete about to graduate, I'm on scholarship and I get a scholar- ship by playing a sport and passing classes. Sometimes, people forget: What percentage of the world will ever have that opportunity? Not many in the United States alone, let alone in other countries. You get to see what it's like. And it humbles you. It humbled me. That's really what it did. It made me know that no matter what my journey leads to, I've already had a great one, and I want to give back and help as many as I could. "I went over there and thought I'd help kids at the or- phanage develop and grow, but it turned out to be the opposite. They really helped me develop and grow." But that high was followed by a low. Blough, who was with Robinson on that South Africa trip, saw his teammate outside the locker room that day, struggling to keep his composure. "He was on the phone crying and I got to sit there and talk to him, encourage him," Blough said. "I don't know if he remembers that, but I remember. I've only seen him cry twice: The day after the DUI and the day his life was changed forever in South Africa." Gelen Robinson's mom, Shantelle Clay, remembers getting a call as well, hearing not only the disappoint- ment in his voice but the remorse, too, like he had let everyone down. "I also disappointed a lot of people, first and foremost my mom," said Robinson, who served a two-game sus- pension to start the '15 season as a result of the arrest. "I have made my mom mad every year — I've done stupid things before — but when I got a DUI, (one of the) first people I had to call was my mom. And that was probably one of the most disappointing — in her eyes — things I've done, because of the way she raised me. She raised me to be a respectable young man who not only sets an example to kids off the field, but to my peers and to up- hold my family name. "I'm a Robinson. And things happen in life, but it af- fected more people than I thought it would. It was one of those things where it was a humbling experience. If I could do it over again, I would never drink and drive, but that experience in that moment, it was a real learning experience. It showed me that my actions will not only affect me." Now In December, Gelen Robinson will graduate with his undergraduate degree in selling and sales management, with a minor in entrepreneurship. Almost no one thought that would have been possible, not even mom. She knows Robinson better than anyone, and she was skeptical in the summer of '14. "When I dropped Gelen off at school the first day (at Purdue), I didn't think he would make it," Clay said. "I'm like, 'Oh, my Lord, maybe I should get a place down here and try to help this boy with his homework, with every- thing.' Because he was one that I'm like, 'I just don't know how he'll do in college.' That scared me, first of all." It probably scared Robinson too, so much so that he Gelen Robinson has twice made trips to an orphanage in South Africa, but no matter where he is, he has a heart for kids.

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of GBI Magazine - Gold and Black Illustrated, Vol 27, Digital 6