Ynobe Robinson is fast, and to do what she does, she needs to be.
Robinson is a senior at Archbishop Ryan High School, and a runner on the indoor and outdoor track teams. After school, she practices with those teams, and after track practice, she heads to football practice.
Robinson is a captain and running back and rusher (think defensive line) on the Ragdolls’ newest team, flag football.
Ryan is one of the schools competing in a new flag football league, sponsored by the Philadelphia Eagles. It includes teams from both the Philadelphia Public and Catholic leagues.
And Robinson is quickly learning all the ins and outs of the new sport. After all, she’s a track star, but she’s rapidly becoming a football star, too. If someone says you play like a girl, consider it a compliment.
Ryan won its first game, a 6-0 triumph over Benjamin Rush. Robinson hopes it’s the beginning of a great season.
“I’m one of the captains, so I was more of guiding everyone, making sure they feel comfortable, letting them know I was there if they needed anything,” said Robinson, who is a captain, along with Alyssa Arias. “I did pretty good. I wish we had more time. I was really into it, I was watching it, watching the other team, watching what we could improve on, what we could do next time. I took it all in. I really enjoyed it.”
The football newcomer is really starting to pick up the sport. And like every girl in the league, they’re showing the world they can do anything the boys can do.
“I try to explain to them, we’re out here trying to prove stuff to everyone and to ourselves,” Robinson said. “Girls can do anything. Girls can do it all. The sky is our limit.
“I love it. I’m having so much fun playing football. I love track, too, but senior year, I’m loving that I had a chance to play football. I think that running track gave me an upper hand. I’m fast. It’s why I play running back, but really, I love playing rusher better. On defense, if we get the ball back, we get a chance to score.
“I knew a lot of the girls from school, and they look up to me. I’m one of two captains, it’s the leadership position. And I love being a leader. They love me, I love them, it’s all love when it comes to football.”
Robinson is always busy at Ryan, where she plays three sports and is the president of the Renaissance Club. She’s also busy when she leaves school. She works at Wawa, where she does a little bit of everything.
“I work the counter, make drinks and work in the deli,” said Robinson, who works 20 hours a week during the school year and a lot more during the summer. “When I’m not there, people come and and ask for me to make drinks. I make a great milkshake and any kind of lemonade. Those are my specialty.”
She’ll continue doing that after graduation until it’s time to leave for the Army. She’s following in her mom’s footsteps. Her mom is in the reserves and, according to Robinson, has set a great example for her. So has her grandmom and uncles.
“My mom is a single parent, she’s so strong,” Robinson said. “It’s my grandmom, my mom and me. We are all so much alike. I have two uncles, too, I’m close with them. But my mom is who I take after.
“I’m really looking forward to the Army. It’s a great career for me. I know it’s hard, but I’m ready for it. I’m excited about it.”
Once her service is over, she’ll have plenty of options. One is definitely working in a kitchen, where she excels.
“I’m a good cook, “Robinson said. “I can make a lot. I want to open up my own restaurant. I love cooking and I’m actually good at it. Steak, mashed potatoes and pasta, seafood, soul food, ox tails. I learned it from my grandmom, she’s a great cook. She worked in the kitchen.”
While she’s proud of her family, her family is very proud of her.
They were before this year. Football is just another reason to be proud.
“They came to my first game and they’ll be there,” Robinson said. “I’m lucky to have a great family. They’re very supportive.”
Just as she loves her family, she loves her school, especially her teammates on the football team.
It might be a new league and a new team at Ryan, but Robinson is having fun leading this team for this season and setting a blueprint for beyond this first season.
“I love being a leader on this team,” Robinson said. “We are working hard. I’m learning a lot. We all are. Football is a fun sport. I love everything about it, mostly the plays. The plays are so interesting to me.
“I love Ryan. Ryan is a great school with a lot of kids with a lot of personalities, but we all mesh together as one and we all stand for each other as one. We’re bonded for life. The kids I grew up with since freshmen year, we have a connection. I’m glad we’re having a normal year this year where we aren’t wearing masks and you can talk to everyone without worrying about how close you are. It’s been a great year.”