Robin Roberts was on Good Morning America interviewing Naomi Osaka when I heard someone say “Who’s the old bat?” I could feel my blood begin to boil. I have great fondness for Robin Roberts. I remember when she went through a bone marrow transplant in 2012. At that time I had a close friend who was battling cancer and she was considering the procedure. After immediately calling the person out for their ageist and sexist remark, I decided to take my anger and turn it into a teachable moment.
I started by educating myself more about the GMA anchor. I knew that Robin Roberts played competitive sports and I remembered that she worked at ESPN. Can you imagine what it was like to work in a white male dominated culture as a black female lesbian? I started to dig into her background a little and discovered that she had over 1,000 career baskets and rebounds and has been inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame.
Roberts also excelled academically; graduated as Salutatorian at Pass Christian High School in 1979 and followed that up by graduating cum laude from Southeastern Louisiana University in 1983. She went to SLU on a tennis scholarship but switched to basketball.
Robin Roberts is also a best selling author. She has written three books (4 if you count the first edition of her Rules to Live By book which listed seven rules in 2007):
Seven Eight Rules to Live By (2008)
My Story, My Song – Mother-Daughter Reflections on Life and Faith (2012)
Everybody’s Got Something (2014)
I informed my friend about a few of Roberts many accomplishments. Then I suggested that the “Old Bat” could still likely kick his ass but she’d be real sweet about it and you’d feel better about yourself when it was over. I think her greatest accomplishment has been her influence in getting more donors for bone marrow transplants as noted by Wikipedia:
In 2012, she was diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), a disease of the bone marrow. Be the Match Registry, a nonprofit organization run by the National Marrow Donor Program, experienced an 1,800% spike in donors the day Roberts went public with her illness. She took a leave from GMA to get a bone marrow transplant, and went home in October 2012. She returned to GMA on February 20, 2013. Roberts received a 2012 Peabody Award for the program. The Peabody citation credits her for “allowing her network to document and build a public service campaign around her battle with rare disease” and “inspir[ing] hundreds of potential bone marrow donors to register and heighten[ing] awareness of the need for even more donors.” ESPN awarded its Arthur Ashe Courage Award to Roberts at the 2013 ESPYs.
Robin Roberts as often stated what her mother told her time and time again – “Make your mess your message.”