Editor's Note: This is a Fremont Bulletin article from Robert Turbin's February 2013 visit. We are spotlighting this story as a supplement to our 2014 Super Bowl coverage.
Blue and white balloons and streamers greeted a crowd of more than 500 people who filled the gymnasium of Irvington High School Wednesday night to welcome home one if its outstanding former athletes. Robert Turbin recently completed his rookie season with the National Football League's Seattle Seahawks.
Raised in Fremont, Robert Turbin attended Hirsch Elementary, Horner Junior High and arrived at Irvington High School to a football team that previously had mediocre success.
Athletic Director Michelle Stone coordinated the event to retire the jersey worn by Robert Turbin and at times, he seemed awed by the enthusiastic turnout.
"I can hardly put into words what this means to me. This is an honor not just to me, but to that team," Robert Turbin said.
Bob Spain, who coached the 2005 team, knew even then Robert Turbin was headed for success.
"He was a special kid. By the time he was a sophomore, you could see he was the perfect combination of genetics and work ethic," Spain said.
That work ethic was instilled early by his father, Ronald Turbin.
"This night is awesome," he said. "I am so happy Robert could fulfill his dream. I always tried to keep him grounded. We took things day-by-day, month-by-month."
Unlike many sideline fathers, Ronald Turbin never coached his son.
"I was there for support; I let the coaches do the coaching."
His face beaming with pride, Robert Turbin admitted there was one drawback to the ceremony.
"It was really hard to give that jersey back," he confessed with a smile. "I kept asking, ÔCan't you use a new one?' but they wanted the original, so I gave it up but not without a little fight."
For Robert Turbin, this past year has been the reward of sticking to a dream.
"No matter what your dream is, you have to have a conviction to that dream. Your ultimate goal impacts your decisions on a daily basis. Nothing is impossible," he said.
One of his most important NFL moments so far was taking the field for a playoff game against the Atlanta Falcons.
"The intensity rises to a new level. You play like it's a regular game, but it isn't."
Robert Turbin's path would not be described as easy. He has lost two siblings, and at times has been estranged from his mother, but clearly his anchor has been his father.
"The impact of turning pro has touched my entire family. I can make life a little easier for both my dad and my sister. That is a great feeling."
The evening included a presentation of a key to the school actually to the weight room. Principal Sarah Smoot wanted Robert Turbin to know he always has a home at Irvington High School. After Wednesday's ceremony, he knows.
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