A day will come when Matt Robinson will look back on his sophomore year in high school and smile. In the fall, he enjoyed his first season of varsity football, becoming a starter at safety and also seeing time at wide receiver to help the Raiders reach the regional playoffs. From there, Robinson, 6 feet 3, worked his way into the starting lineup of the basketball team as a forward. He averaged 7.5 points and nearly five rebounds a game, providing solid defense and hustle as the Raiders reached the county championship game and finished the season 18-6.
Robinson is a B-student who is interested in accounting and marketing. This spring, he plans to try out for the Raiders' outdoor track and field team. Outside of school, Robinson is involved with the Appalachia Service Project, a relational ministry that provides home-repair assistance to families in need, and is a member of the NAACP Youth Council. Robinson also enjoys spending time with his twin sister, Marissa, a cheerleader at Atholton. You started playing basketball when you were 5. What is your earliest memory of playing ball?
I was really bad when I started, and I remember my dad always used to yell at me to play defense and [to] always try to make plays. I remember when I scored my first basket, my dad was jumping up and down, and he had the camera out and everything. It was funny. It was a layup. It made me feel really good because it felt like he was actually proud of me when playing basketball [laughs].
What was the biggest adjustment moving up to varsity this season?
I guess the tempo of the game and working with some new teammates, like the seniors.
What was it like playing in your first varsity game?
I was nervous, and then when I finally got in the game it was crazy because the game was going so fast. And then the fans were cheering because I made a three. They were like: "Super sophomore!" So I was hyped up. That was really funny. It came in the second quarter. I was wide open, so I shot it and it went in. I was like: "Yeah!"
Which sport is your favorite?
Basketball is my first love, but football is getting up there. Right now, I'd say it's still basketball.
What is the Appalachia Service Project all about?
We go to poor, undeveloped places in the Appalachian region and build houses and help fix things. We go down with a group of kids with my church.
How rewarding is it to help others?
It's great. First, I had to do service projects and get a whole bunch of hours in to be able to go on the actual trip. This year, I had to put in a floor for a trailer home. I've done yard work, put in new carpet and other stuff. We also sell stuff to raise money to get vans and tents to go down there.
What track events do you plan to try out for?
Sprints, hurdles, and I might try to take after my grandfather and try the 800, but I'm not sure. He ran in the Pan American Games in the late '40s and was a football, track and basketball coach at Bel Air, where he also was the athletic director.
How helpful has your grandfather been with sports?
He always gives me tips when he comes down for our games. I've learned not to be scared of anybody and just go 100 percent and try to take it to everybody. He also always preaches to do well in school.
Your mother is a District Court judge in the county. What is that like?
You definitely got to stay out of trouble [laughs]. It's kind of cool because you get special privileges walking around the courthouse. She was a lawyer for a while, too, and that was fun going down to her office and being in that atmosphere.
Do you have any role models?
My parents and my grandfather.
How important has their support been to your success?
It's really good because I wouldn't do the things and be the way that I am without them. They taught me all my manners. I'm always polite to people and try not to be mean to anybody. When I started liking sports, they just crowded around me and always gave me support. And whenever we lose or I feel down, they're always there to pick me up.
What's it like having a twin sister?
It's actually pretty cool. We talk a lot. We weren't as close through elementary school and middle school because we had our own cliques. But now, once we got to high school, we're closer. It's cool because we talk about stuff from the boys' side and stuff from the girls' side.
Is it true what people say about twins knowing what the other is thinking?
Whenever we call each other, the line is often busy because we're both trying to call each other. We usually know what each other are doing before we actually do it. She'll know where I'm going before I'm going there and I'll know the same exact thing.
How much fun is it having her cheer for you in football and basketball?
It feels great because she always screams whenever I do something good.