“I wasn’t prepared,” he said before last night’s game. “I didn’t think it was going to be that bad. I knew the fatalities and stuff I knew was terrible, and I knew the area it hit, but I didn’t know it kept going that far. I’ve seen damage in Mississippi from Katrina, and that was sad too, but that wasn’t an area that I grew up in, so I didn’t know what to expect. Seeing my hometown destroyed, it’s difficult. It’s disturbing.”
The place where Robertson bought a Christmas tree last winter was gone. So was the barbeque restaurant that used to have his picture on the wall. So was the elementary school that he remembered being built not so long ago. Robertson met a woman who’s father refused to leave his home and was killed, and he ran into an old friend who rode out the storm in his bathtub.
“He was in a bathtub holding his dog, and his dog almost got sucked out of his arms,” Robertson said. “When it passed by, he opens his door, and there’s not anything left of his house except the bathroom.”
Robertson has said before that he’s not a very emotional guy, but there was plenty of emotion on his face and in his voice yesterday. He couldn’t believe that the path of destruction went for miles, in some places leveling a house on one side of the street, while leaving the other side with only a few broken windows.
That’s why I’ll probably mention just about anything Robertson does to raise money for relief in Tuscalossa. Because that just as easily could have been my hometown that was destroyed. When a tornado touches down, the difference between being hit and being spared is complete luck, and they happen too quickly to prepare. I think about that when I think about Alabama, and I think about that when I think about the tornado that hit Joplin back in my home state. I’m lucky my parents and friends aren’t among those picking up the pieces.
“I wish I could go down there and use my hands and help people rebuild,” Robertson said. “But I’m not able to, so I’m going to do everything I can on the other hand to raise money so that I can get supplies and things to people down there who can do that for other people.”
One more time, the website is highsocksforhope.com. One hundred percent of the donations go to the recovery effort. Robertson said he met some good people down there, people he trusts to help him send the money to the people and places that need it the most.
Here’s Robertson speaking before last night’s game.
* By the way, Robertson said that it was his wife, Erin, who came up with the brilliant name, High Socks For Hope. “I’d put that one on the smart wife,” Robertson said. “She said it and I was like, that’s perfect.”