Ignore my previous post of the day lamenting my crappy day at work - that is silly and immaterial now. I just discovered that someone that was a very dear friend while we were in college passed away last year. Tom Neziol was an amazing person, a fantastic hockey player and someone I am blessed to say was my friend.
(for those that don't know him Tom is the handsome fellow on the right)
We lost touch after he graduated (he managed to finish in 4 years while I took five years) but Tom was frequently in my thoughts during those years and I did try to use the net and our alumni web site to find out what he was up to with sometimes limited results.
Ironically Tom has been in my thoughts more than usual lately. I was just thinking of a time when he had a game curfew but wanted a sandwich from uptown. Luckily the team captain was his housemate so our only instruction was "don't get caught!" I still remember Tom sitting in my chevette, wearing my scarf over his head (to be more incognito) and making me get money out of the ATM for him so he could hide. Of course I had to run back to the car, praying his ATM card didn't get sucked into the machine - he forgot to tell me the code. When he told me he just looked at me like he couldn't believe I couldn't have figured it out on my own. And yeah for those who knew Nez - I should have been able to figure it out (and to this day I still remember it).
Tom and I became closer when he was seriously injured during a practice. His arm was sliced open by another player's skate and it was questionable if Tom would ever be able to play again. He worked so hard and came back to finish out his career at Miami and even went on to a pro career. I wrote my first article for a national publication on Tom's successful recovery. College Hockey Weekly had me write about everything Tom went through after I met one of the editors in the press box of some road trip we were on. After we finished doing the interview for the story, Tom rolled up his sleeve and said to me "Mary, should we include a picture of my scar?"
Tom was one of my three dearest friends on the team that came and sat with me the night my dad died. Steve, Paul and Tom made sure that I had company that night and tried their best to take my mind off of everything that was going on.
There are so many more memories and things I could say about Tom. He was a special person and I am saddened that he is no longer in this world. The world has lost a wonderful person.
Nez I will miss you.