Westmont Magazine An Unconventional Sports Story
As I reflect upon my odyssey at Westmont College, turning the pages of my mind from one memory to the next, I am struck by a fascinating curiosity. My most cherished memories, or “airport stories” as a dear friend once called them, are all linked by a common thread: they occurred while I was on the bench.
Now such a phenomenon does not speak of a lack of success; indeed, success has been the defining characteristic of the last four years. So why is it that I still choke up when I picture myself on the bench at UCSB, Coach Moore clutching my leg as if the force of our wills can help Corey Blick hit three free throws, or sitting on the bench while Steve Baik plays the game of his life on Senior Night with his father watching from the stands for the first time, or sitting on the bench at Whittier bearing witness to Michael “Papa” Payne simply refusing to let his career end?
The answer is surprisingly simple. The intrinsic value of these moments, the thing that makes all the rest seem transient and unimportant, is that these are all life lessons presented in the guise of athletic competition. Corey’s courage, Steve’s perseverance and Papa’s determination will remain with me long after I have forgotten who won and who lost.
This is the essence of Westmont basketball, and indeed, Westmont College. For while my jump shot might be better than it was when I got here, it is the improvements I have made off the court that will endure as priceless guidelines on how to live my life. My time at Westmont has been nothing that I had wanted; yet everything that I could have hoped for. I arrived with all the answers, only to discover I had yet to be asked the tough questions.
In my quest for glory, I found humility. In the emptiness of greed, I found the pleasure of sacrifice. And in my attempts at self-reliance, I found a savior. And so to everyone, be you in this room or elsewhere, I would like to say God bless you and thank you for changing my life.
Editor’s Note: Robin, who comes from Adeleide, South Australia, was a four-year member of the men’s basketball team and ranks sixth all time at Westmont with 120 career three-pointers. He is a two-time NAIA All-American Scholar Athlete with a 3.76 GPA in art, his major. In addition to his success on the court, Robin was a featured artist at the Westmont Senior Art show. He is currently illustrating children’s books.
Gerd Jordano, who chairs the Westmont Foundation, and her husband, Pete, sponsor the Golden Eagle Awards each year to honor top scholar athletes in every varsity sport.