Former Tommie Matt Robertson reflects on facing his former team on the other side of the court

I entered the gym, sat down on the bench and laced up the shoes. In front of me, green and yellow jerseys are flying around in their lay-up line and guys are slapping fives. It all just seemed so foreign. It seems fitting that my career would end the same way that it began: on the court with the Tommies.

For those of you who don’t know who I am, you might think I’m a washed up old guy. For those of you who do remember me, you still might say that I’m a washed up old guy. But that is neither here nor there.

Just for a refresher, I’ll give you a little bit of my story.

I attended St. Thomas University from September 2006 until April 2010 when I graduated with a degree in journalism. For four years I was a part of a fantastic basketball program, led by Coach Dwight Dickinson. It was an unreal experience highlighted by some of the greatest individuals I’ve ever met, some of which still don the Tommies’ uniform today.

After my journalism degree, I traveled to Crandall University to get an education degree in my hometown of Moncton. I had a year of eligibility left and was approached to play basketball by the coach of the Crandall University Chargers, so I decided to lace up the shoes for one more year.

It was a realization that happened about 46 seconds after I agreed to play: I’d have to face the team that I’d called my own for four years.

It was a scary thought that I tried to brush off at first.

“Ahh pshh, it’ll be fine,” I thought. “So what, I know the guys, no big deal.”

It wasn’t that simple; it never is.

I faced the green and yellow for the first time in a new uniform in our first tournament of the year in Miramichi, New Brunswick.

It was a really surreal experience. A shot went up, careened off the rim and bounced low across the floor. As I started to make a move for the ball, Tommie’ standout Matt McGrath dove on the ball. I stood up and thought, “great, Ballsy’s got it.” A split-second later, I realized my mistake and dove after the ball.

I can’t even begin to explain it. It was like my whole basketball world was exploding.

The next time we faced them was my first time inside the South Gym in a new uniform. Again, I tried to play it off like it wasn’t a big deal, but was dealt a harsh blow by the green and yellow. I shot 2-14 for a total of six points in a 40-point loss. I didn’t understand it. What used to be my home had turned into a merciless and uninviting place.

Fast-forward to this past weekend. The Tommies took it to the Chargers in a 13-point loss that was a hard fought game on both ends. The final buzzer went, and with it, my career. As sad as I was though, I couldn’t be happier to call myself a Tommie.

Thanks for the memories.

 

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