Robby was one of those guys that had destiny written all over him, specifically in the area of athletics. He was a born athlete. There was no question about his giftedness. I do not remember when he took the field in the big three: baseball, football and basketball. In our day these were the main sports that kids played. He was best at baseball probably because he enjoyed it more and had more access to the sport through Little League, Babe Ruth and High School competitions.
To illustrate destiny I remember one time when he was playing on a Little League team and his team was behind. It was the last inning and their team was down. Robby hit the ball and it had just enough force to roll to the back fence and stop. The ball rolled through the glove of the shortstop or third baseman and rolled unimpeded to the fence in left field. It was like the ball and the defense were playing in slow motion. Robby knocked in the winning run, his team won and he was the hero, again.
One time on the high school football team he was knocked down around the 20 yard line of the opposing teams end and he got up and ran diagonally across the field to make the tackle on the player near the 10 yard line as the player was trying to run for a score. He never saw Robby coming. It was a magic moment. No on could catch the opposing player and Robby not only was knocked down, but he got up and took off after the guy and tackled him. It was even more spectacular because when Robby was knocked down his helmet came off. He made the run and tackle w/o his helmet. He didn’t have time to put it on.
When Robby was in Central Prison in Raleigh, NC Clyde King of the New York Yankees came down to interview him. He was that good. Unfortunately, only Robby could mess up his destiny. He was incarcerated and would never be able to fulfill his field of dreams. Robby seemed to always be the first to break this record or the youngest to do this or that on whatever team he was on. He was rewarded time and time again. He was gifted. Even when he went to prison he played on the prison teams and was a star.
I really do not know what went wrong with him. He was a very angry kid. I do not know how he got so angry. All of us boys were angry kids. We had a pagan worldview. Dad used to beat us. He was mostly verbal, which was typically the result of his drinking. He stayed drunk or was drinking most of the time. I really don’t remember a time when he was not drinking. I think Robby got caught in the wake of awful parenting and continued to spin out of control. There was no spiritual intervention and his path was set. The boy who was destined to succeed in sports rewrote his destiny and died a tragic death.
I had always thought that it seemed illogical to see Robby as an old person sitting in a rocking chair on some back porch somewhere with a wife and grand kids. It didn’t sound right for him. It seemed to me that he was born to die early. And that he did.