Unfortunately for us, Heaven just gained one hell of a personality today.
I did not know Tom Nevins as well as others, so I cannot speak about his character too in-depth, but I know he loved five things in life: the Rangers, the Yankees, food, the Rangers, and the Yankees. Oh, did I say Rangers and Yankees twice? Tom Nevins was someone I met on a New York Rangers forum back in 2007 when I first joined, and to which he was already a veteran of. Over time, we began to talk more and more, and drifted off of the forum and onto Facebook, phone, and A.I.M. It truly is amazing, that for someone I never met, he left such an impact on me, because of the way he lived his life, one that included an excruciatingly painful illness from the time he was a child.
Mr. Nevins had cystic fibrosis, a debilitating disease that affects the lungs, but you wouldn’t know it by talking to him, because he was as jovial and light-hearted as anyone can be. In fact, had he not told me about it, I probably never would have known. He never complained about it, never made it known to anyone except in private, and loved to poke fun at life and all those around him, sometimes at his own expense. This was the type of person he was, a man who became a character, created by his own one-of-a-kind personality. It is not often I use that phrase to describe a person, but I truly believe there will never be another one like him.
Known as “Scars that Smile”, he was one of the rare people who you could converse about anything with. I distinctly remember, one time, about two years ago we talked for nearly twenty minutes about pancakes, one of his favorite foods, and I promised that whenever I made them, I would take a picture of them on the skillet and send them to him. He got a kick out of this.
Tom was a die-hard fan of the New York Rangers and New York Yankees, which was how I met him, and he took that role very seriously—to make fun of anything and everything he could about the misfortunes of his favorites teams. But he would watch all baseball, and helped me root on the San Francisco Giants in this season’s run to the World Series. We also shared one other thing in common, we both hated the San Diego Padres.
This was a picture he tagged his Ranger fan friends in at the end of last season, just before the final game of the season. It didn’t work out so well, but it is a testament to his character:
My biggest regret in all of this is that I never got to meet him in person, because if someone can make you laugh over the phone and computer, they must be a riot in real life. There really is not much else I can say, because I do not particularly care for trying to sum up someone’s life in a few paragraphs—this is just my telling of what I knew of him.
I will end with a quote that I heard last year, when I was chatting with an older man and fellow Rangers fan, and he said to me, regarding the next time the Rangers would win the Cup, “I’ll have a great seat, but it won’t be in the stadium.” That is where Tom is right now, looking down at us and his favorite teams, and finally, he is in no pain, and that is the important part. We can only hope that should we fall ill like he did, that we would be able to live our lives like a champion, brave and fighting until the last day, and not allowing ourselves to fall into gloom, but to be happy for what we have, and to never let our spirits get down. Everyone has a purpose in life, and perhaps Tom’s was to be an inspiration to us all.
Rest in Peace, Tom Nevins