Zander Robinson is entering his fifth season with the Toronto Argonauts. During his time in the CFL he’s had to adapt to some changes. Drafted as a defensive lineman back in 2011, he converted to fullback in 2013 and still holds that position. However, the latest change he’s going to have to adapt to comes off the field and in the community. With Jason Pottinger departing from the game, Robinson has taken over as the face of Connecting Countries Adopt-a-School.
“This is an opportunity to grow what he’s done and continue what he’s done. He’s put all of this time and effort into making connections and now it’s up to me to continue to foster those relationships and to put my own mark on it,” said Robinson.
“I have to get my friends and find other people to get involved and continue to get bigger and better and as the years go on pass this along to someone else who is like-minded and wants to give back to the community and not just the community locally, but a national one.”
Connecting Countries has partnered with the Toronto Argonauts the past four seasons in hosting its Tackles For Toilets event. Fans purchase tickets to the game, with a percentage of the ticket sales going towards new latrines and schools in Kenya. There are also giveaways and each ticket comes with a tax receipt. It’s also what Robinson is looking forward to the most.
“Seeing J-PO [Jason Pottinger] when we were playing together over the years, seeing him interact with those kids after the game, it’s going to be a highlight and not just that, but seeing the photos of the latrines and where the money has gone and what it has produced and the smile on those kids’ faces,” he explained.
The Vancouver, British Columbia native is no stranger when it comes to getting involved in the community. He does a lot of work with the Canadian Blood Services in Vancouver when he’s home during the offseason or when he has some time off. He’s also an active voice that has come out and shown support towards the LGBT community and playing on the same team as a gay athlete. Although he’s no stranger to getting out into the community he knows that this is going to be a different experience, but he already has some plans for the upcoming season.
“Hamilton and Toronto are quite close so maybe we can expand it to two games a year and maybe start another program in Hamilton and make it a Tiger-Cats thing, make it into a rivalry thing to see who can donate and raise the most money and help the most kids.”
Jason Pottinger decided to hand the responsibility over to Robinson because he believed that he would bring the same work ethic and dedication to the table that he brought over the past four years, even when he wasn’t playing in Toronto. Robinson should be getting an extended role on the field this year, just like he’s getting one away from it. Either way, he should have no problem living up to the expectations in both roles.