Man for all seasons

Liverpool student juggles healthy mix of sports




SaltWire Network


Rooted in country living, it’s no wonder that Lee Robertson enjoys the outdoors almost as much he likes sports. The Port Joli native is a multi-sport athlete and Grade 11 student at Liverpool Regional High School, which he has represented in golf, soccer, baseball, volleyball, basketball and badminton. Besides those school sports, the former minor hockey player plays AAA baseball with the 18-andunder Bridgewater Bulldogs and club volleyball with the Valley Venom. Robertson’s athletic balancing act is akin to keeping all the animals in check at his family farm. “We had three goats and three ponies and a bunch of chickens, a dog and two cats most of the time, but those goats have passed now,” said Robertson, 16. “Growing up, it was definitely a chore to keep them going with water and food and stuff.” Robertson and his brother Lewis, now 19, became accustomed to an active lifestyle, ranging from farm pursuits to throwing baseballs and shooting pucks in their backyard. They weren’t stuck indoors on computers or playing video games. “No, not as much as most kids, not nearly,” said the younger Robertson, who was born at his home in July 2005. “Me and my brother played outside a lot as kids. Living on a farm with ponies and chickens and goats, it was just kind of natural being outside a lot. “Growing up, I never really had a phone until I was in high school. Most kids in middle school had a phone and I didn’t, but I didn’t really care. I didn’t really need it then.” Now, his phone is convenient as he arranges rides to and from his many sporting endeavours. Robertson is dialed in when it comes to sports, whether it’s golf or baseball in the summertime or his full calendar of school-year athletics. “I love playing all sports,” he said. “I like that a lot about (Liverpool Regional) being a small school, I can play all the sports. “But when they keep getting shut down, it’s pretty hard.” Before the latest round of COVID-19 suspended sports at most levels, the six-foot-two, 170-pound Robertson captained Liverpool to a bronzemedal finish in the Nova Scotia Division 2 boys’ high school volleyball championship. Soon after those provincials, he and teammate Robbie Greer cracked Valley’s club volleyball roster. Earlier this fall, Robertson tied for third in the high school golf regionals and qualified for provincials at Osprey Ridge in Bridgewater. And he was part of the first boys’ soccer team at LRHS in a few years. Clearly a man for all seasons, Robertson now is immersed with basketball and badminton at the school level and club volleyball on the side, while posting solid grades in the mid-80s. “I take all of the sports quite seriously,” he said. “I don’t really have a specific sport that I’m really zoomed in on yet. But I do hope to choose one eventually. “Right now, I’m just having a lot of fun with it. I’m pretty busy with balancing sports and school, back and forth, but I like being busy.” Each summer, when he’s not working at his mother’s café in Hunts Point, Robertson is usually on the golf course or the baseball field. COVID ramped up his golf participation in recent years and he has won tournaments at the junior level. In baseball, he was a rookie standout this past summer with Bridgewater, which narrowly missed an appearance in the provincial 18U AAA final. He joined the Bulldogs the previous summer at the 15U AAA level. “I really like Lee,” said Bulldogs 18U coach Zach Zinck. “He’s going to be a good player for us for years to come. He still has two years of midget left. “He was fantastic in his first year. The thing about Lee is he’s very smart. That’s what separates him from the other young guys that we have. He’s a lot more intelligent when it comes to baseball sense. He always knew what he was doing before the ball came to him, as opposed to getting the ball, then figuring it out after that. “He’s just a very athletic kid. I think playing a lot of sports helps him with that. I’m pretty confident he’d be good in every sport he plays.” Robertson was so effective at shortstop that it would almost hurt the Bulldogs on the rare occasions when he wasn’t at that position, Zinck said. “He’s probably the only player that played every game. He’s just so consistent.” Zinck, who coaches at Badlands Baseball Academy during the school year, has invited Robertson to play with that Alberta program. “I’m definitely considering it for next year, but I’m just not 100 per cent sure yet,” said Robertson, also a capable pitcher. “I didn’t think I’d want to go for two years. If I went this year, it would have made sense to go next year as well. But I wanted to stay here one more year at least and play some school sports.” Robertson can perhaps relate to what his maternal grandfather, the late Donnie Wharton, was thinking when he was a promising baseball prospect. As a 15-year-old playing among men with the Liverpool Larrupers, Wharton was offered a pro tryout with the celebrated Brooklyn Dodgers. “But he was unable to go because his father thought he was too young,” Robertson said. “That was a long time ago. “He was really big into baseball and basketball, and I think that’s where I got it from mostly.” Robertson believes that his father, who played hockey at a less-organized level, and his brother also influenced his love of sports. “I grew up watching a lot of baseball with my dad and my brother. We just started playing in the backyard and talking about it a lot. We really got into it.” The Robertson siblings were teammates at Liverpool Regional, where older brother Lewis also played multiple sports before graduating last year. Lee credits his healthy lifestyle, especially his mother’s home-cooking, for helping him perform in sports and in the classroom. “She makes a lot of good, healthy food for us,” he said. “To this day, she still packs me lunch for school every day. “I think it boosts my energy and keeps me mentally focused a lot of the time.”