Tribute to Kevin Murray - Coach, Teacher, Friend and Dad

Tuesday, February 06, 2018

 

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Kevin Murray

He wouldn't remember it, but this guy once "saved my life." I may have been a bit of a smart-ass when I was younger and might have pissed someone off one time in high school. As tough guys do, that guy lets it be known that he was going to kick my ass. So, I did what all scrawny smart asses do in that situation. I let it be known that I wasn't afraid, but I also avoided getting caught any place alone for a while.

Kevin Murray was my classmate and lacrosse teammate. He was one of those guys who never showed off and did not look particularly tough, but you only had to get hit by him once to know that you never wanted it to happen again. Thankfully, he happened to be around at the moment of reckoning for me, and I lived through my time at "The Academy."

We played for La Salle way back when La Salle was the closest thing to a public school in the very private-school world of high school lacrosse. Most of us didn’t know much of lacrosse before we started, and we played against the likes of Tabor Academy, Milton Academy, St. Georges, and Portsmouth Abbey. They were all the fancy prep schools, and the worst thing you could ever call someone back then was “Preppy.”

We graduated in 1981 – and then a lifetime passed. I got to reconnect with him through lacrosse over the last 3 or 4 years when my kids started playing, and eventually got involved in one of his Roots Lacrosse programs. He had stuck with it and become something of an RI Lacrosse legend, coaching at La Salle, Providence College, and Hendricken along the way. I walked across the field to see if he remembered me, and his wry, wisecracking smile told me all I needed to know – 25+ years erased in a second. He spit out his whistle, shook his head and said something about how old I was.

He has five kids. Four are much older than mine, but his youngest son is about the same age as my boys, and we were the oldest dads still hanging around the youth game. I am so grateful for that time and for the opportunity to meet his sons. The older ones helped run his Roots Lacrosse program, and have been great to me and my boys.

I remember a time about a million years ago after my Dad had been retired a few years and he saw one of his old Telephone Company friends at one of my youngest brother’s hockey games. He was so excited that nearly broke his neck trying to run up the stands to say hello. Now I get it. Every couple of weeks for the past couple of years we “Mugsy” and I got a little a shot of remembering this or remembering that, and a chance to bust each other’s chops. And it was great.

The older you get, the fewer connections you have to your youth, and the greater appreciation you have for the good classmates/teammates you've had along the way.

Nobody’s perfect, but he was a great guy, and if I had a say in it, he’d already be in heaven. 

Rest in peace, old friend.

 
 

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