Friday, March 6, 2009

Leading Lion

All photos courtesy of Meghan Robinson.

Meghan Robinson is the only upperclassman on Emerson College women’s lacrosse team. The defender has earned the role of being one of the team’s captains.

Co-head coach Katie Shannon praised Robinson’s leadership qualities, saying, “She is in a tough position being the only junior on the team, but she takes pride in her leadership and the younger players really look up to her.”

However, her lacrosse career almost never made it to this point, on a couple of occasions.

Robinson started playing lacrosse in seventh grade. She continued to play at her high school, Springfield Township, in Philadelphia. She was a two-year letter winner, but every season she questioned whether she should stay on the team or quit.

“I didn’t like the team or the coach,” she said. “People’s hearts weren’t in it. The coach would say one thing and do another. It was bullshit.”

Amidst the frustration, she never acted upon her inclination to quit.

“I almost quit, but I never had it in me,” Robinson said. “I just kept telling myself, ‘Just one more year,’ and that it would be my last chance to play sports.”

Robinson never had the intention of playing lacrosse in college. She was going to focus on academics. Robinson knew she wanted to go to a college in a city. She visited Boston College and loved the campus and the city of Boston. As far as academics were concerned, she wanted to do something involving television, reporting, and possibly film. That’s when a friend suggested Emerson to her. One morning, Robinson and her family made an appointment to tour Emerson in the morning and Boston College in the afternoon. However, they wouldn’t need to go to that second meeting.

“I loved Emerson,” Robinson said. “I didn’t want to go to Boston College anymore. Emerson had a great location, it was a small school, and it had great programs and opportunities. It just felt right being here.”

Robinson applied early action to Emerson but was deferred to the spring semester. She weighed her options of going somewhere else or waiting until the spring and decided there was no other college she would rather be at. That semester off was also where she got the inspiration to play lacrosse for the Lions.

“I started watching this show ‘Two-A-Days’ on MTV, about this high school football team,” she said. “It was really nostalgic for me and I realized that I really missed sports. So I contacted [former head coach Mike] Blanchard, and he said I could absolutely play on the team.”

The trip down nostalgia road didn’t last very long. “I almost quit after the first week. I thought the girls were mean,” Robinson said. “I was a bit presumptuous and thought everyone was clique-y. But I stuck it out and I’m glad I did. I’ve made some of my best friends playing lacrosse.”

Her coaches and teammates are glad she stuck it out too.

“Meg makes my job as coach easier,” said her other co-head coach, Gail Decker-Wittman. “I know that if I ask her to do something or take care of something that it will be done.”

Shannon mentioned how valuable Robinson is because of her skill-level. “She is the last defender on the field before the goalie, and I have all the trust in the world in her,” she said.

Fellow captain Maeghan Ross is very close with her teammate. The two were former roommates and Ross has a lot of respect for Robinson and what she adds to the team. “I think she is the best teammate ever, she’s so hard working,” Ross said. “She brings a sense of excitement, leadership, intensity, and dedication.”

While Robinson is a valuable piece to a Lions team that went to the Great Northeast Athletic Conference championship game last season, there is still room to improve.

“Her weakness is she is too nice,” said Decker-Wittman. “Sometimes in sports you have get a little mean. Meg doesn't do ‘mean’ well.”

Being a defender, Robinson agreed that she needed to get tougher. “I want to be more of a presence on defense. I want to be more of a threat,” she said. “I need to be more physical.”

Still, Robinson says her most important job is to be a leader. “I’m a team player. I want to make sure everyone does their best,” she said.

With Robinson leading the way, the Lions are not only poised to return to the GNAC championship, but determined to win it all.

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