Just as concrete is not ideal for growing flowers, Baltimore is not ideal for personal success in its youth. The city is stricken with poverty, drugs and crime yet it still harbors over 130,000 children under the age of 18 that all possess an enormous amount of potential.
Devin Gordon (Baltimore, MD) grew up in Baltimore, Maryland and has used his tough upbringing as fuel to drive himself towards success.
Gordon has been raised by two women since age six when his mother asked the couple living next door to watch her children while she tried to rid herself of drugs. “My mother said she would be back in a few days to get us. Days turned to weeks. Weeks turned to months. Months turned to years,” said Gordon.
The couple took in Gordon, his two brothers and sister and treated them just like they were their own children.
Gordon went on to go to private school in Maryland to further increase his chances at success since the Baltimore Public School system is extremely poor. Gordon attended Loyola Blakefield where he played football and lacrosse.
He was the only freshman to make the varsity football team at Loyola Blakefield. It was there that he met his mentor, Michael Walden. Walden attended the same high school and was on the coaching staff for the Dons. Although Walden lived an hour away from campus in Annapolis, he would stay after practice to work with Gordon on his skills at wide receiver. “When I was a freshman, I was fast but I had no hands and I am extremely grateful that he took time to help me get better. Without him, I wouldn’t be where I am today,” commented Gordon.
After graduating from Loyola Blakefield, Gordon spent a post-graduate year at Wilbraham & Monson Academy in Wilbraham, MA. Gordon enrolled at Merrimack in the fall of 2008 where he received a scholarship to play football. As a freshman, Gordon appeared in three games and was on the special teams unit. He caught his first touchdown as a sophomore against Husson, a game in which he accrued 59 yards on a pair of receptions.
In the spring of 2009, Gordon walked on to the Warriors’ lacrosse team and played in 14 contests his first year. In three years, he has appeared in 36 games with one goal and one assist. Gordon has helped Merrimack to two Northeast-10 championship game appearances and one Northeast-10 Conference title as well as its first-ever Final Four.
Although athletics plays a huge role in Gordon’s life, his joy for music comes before sports. He began playing the piano at age seven in his new home where there was a piano in the living room. “I would sit at it and just press the keys and then I started to learn the chords and notes,” recalled Gordon.
Gordon also played the drums at age seven and he admits that the drums are the instrument that he is most passionate about. “When I was younger, a bunch of friends and I started a band and we would play locally and after a while everyone knew us. We got a little taste of the rock star lifestyle.”
“My background has made me a stronger person and it has given me a reason to fight to prove to people that even though I had a bad upbringing, I can still be successful,” Gordon stated.
“My upbringing has also affected the way that I look at others because I am very shy and I don’t trust people easily. I live by the motto ‘Forgive but don’t forget’.”
One person that inspired Gordon in high school was a teammate named Van Brooks. Brooks was a year ahead of Gordon and was predicted to play Division I football before going to the NFL. However, Brooks suffered a broken neck during a game which left him paralyzed and in a wheelchair. “The courage and dedication that Van shows everyday reminds me that even though I may be going through a tough time, I need to persevere and work hard to succeed,” Gordon offered. “He was like a big brother to me on the football team so he is someone that I look up to.”
Gordon is pursuing a degree in business at Merrimack and would like to go back to coach at Loyola Blakefield and also work for Walden, who owns his own business in the Baltimore area. “Before I go back to Baltimore, I would like to establish myself elsewhere with a fresh start.”
“Devin is one of the most well-rounded players I have ever coached. He is one of those genuine people that you enjoy being around and he is a joy to coach, he is always one of the guys who can make me laugh,” said head men’s lacrosse coach Mike Morgan. “Devin has always had a great attitude towards lacrosse and towards his teammates. He was a walk-on who we kept because he is a hard worker and is very athletic. Since his freshman year, he has turned into one of the most important players on our defense. He has come a long way not only on the lacrosse field, but in life and I can't be more impressed with how he has matured.”