Scott Robinson considers himself quiet and reserved, guarded to a certain extent until he gets to know someone. When he becomes comfortable, his warm personality takes over.
His brother, on the other hand, was the complete opposite in many respects. Leonard "Lenny" Robinson was known to many simply as Batman, a successful businessman and philanthropist who drove a Batmobile and dressed as the Caped Crusader to cheer up sick children in hospitals.
"There will only ever be one Lenny 'Batman' Robinson," Scott Robinson said. "He was very flamboyant, had a very big ego, and when you met Lenny, you would know you met someone pretty special."
Lenny Robinson, an Owings Mills, Md., resident who started the Superheroes for Kids foundation to benefit children facing life-threatening illnesses, was killed Aug. 16, 2015, in a traffic crash on Interstate 70 in Western Maryland. The 51-year-old had pulled over on the shoulder of the road in his sputtering custom-made black Lamborghini, and another car struck it as he checked the engine.
Nearly 10 months later, Scott Robinson, 50, of Pikesville, Md., plans to carry on his brother's enduring legacy June 12, when he competes in the 25th annual Great Chesapeake Bay Swim. Scott Robinson will navigate a 4.4-mile course in the Chesapeake Bay waters to raise money for Port Discovery in Baltimore and the Lenny Robinson Hope for Henry Program at Sinai Hospital.
"One of his sayings was, 'You need to make a difference,'" Scott Robinson said of his brother. "At the end of the day, you need to ask yourself if you can make a difference, and the answer better be 'yes.' So this is sort of my way of giving back and being able to make that difference he always talked so much about."
Having taken up swimming as a hobby more than 15 years ago after several back surgeries, Scott Robinson spends most of his mornings in the lap pool at Life Bridge Health & Fitness in Pikesville. More recently, he often wondered how he could combine his love for swimming with Superheroes for Kids, just as his brother did through his Batman alter ego when he launched the foundation in 2012.
So when a friend approached Scott Robinson several months ago about a potential opportunity to work in conjunction with the Great Chesapeake Bay Swim, it was a no-brainer.
"My thinking was that if we could raise money for Superheroes for Kids and for charities Lenny had always been really fond of, then it would be really fulfilling for us," Scott Robinson said. "Port Discovery is one of our main ones, and they are going to have a future superheroes exhibit down there soon, so hopefully we can help support that."
This also marks unprecedented territory for both Scott Robinson and Superheroes for Kids, because it's the first time the foundation has done any of its own fundraising. Previously, Lenny Robinson had self-funded all the gifts -- bracelets, lanyards, keychains and flashlights -- Superheroes for Kids provided children with the money he earned after the sale of his cleaning company in 2007.
"Lenny, to his credit, never asked anybody for a dollar," Scott Robinson said. "He didn't have Superheroes for Kids to raise money from other people, but he personally funded the whole thing from money he had."
As for the race itself, Scott Robinson understands there are a number of challenges he faces just to cross the finish line but wouldn't have it any other way. For one thing, he has never tried swimming in the Chesapeake Bay, which consists of shifting tides, the threat of strong winds and cold-water temperatures at this time of the year.
To prepare for those rigors, he plans to go out to the bay in the days leading up to the race to better acclimate himself to the conditions. He also has been working tirelessly to knock some time off the 38 minutes it currently takes him to complete one mile in the pool.
"In a regular swimming pool that is heated and has clear water, you really can't simulate some of the things you will see in the Chesapeake Bay," Scott Robinson said. "But going to the Chesapeake Bay a few days ahead of the race should help me, as well as swimming in my community pool outside when it opens in late May, which is still pretty cold then."
Win or lose, Scott Robinson is more concerned with the overall experience than his outcome. Down the road, he said he plans to get involved with more events like the swim, though nothing is official yet.
"I'm not so interested if I win the race or not, but I just want to have a good time," Scott Robinson said. "My hope is that we can have a positive influence on the community, the race itself and everyone involved with it, and that's how I look at what we are doing here."
Issue 221: May 2016