Tom Kowalski Wins Pro Football Writers Award (My Tribute To Killer)
Although I wish very much that he'd have received this award while alive, the Pro Football Writers have finally honored Tom Kowalski. Having a military background, I'd grown accustomed to death, and the sudden loss of life, but this stuck with me. After the army, while at Michigan, I e-mailed Killer for advice on how to be successful in sports journalism. I was trying to decide between a future in writing or in accounting. Being the practical kid I was raised to be, I went with accounting. But before I made that decision, Tom and I exchanged many e-mails about writing and life in general. Years later, at a benefit for charity, I finally got to meet Tom. I was sure he wouldn't remember me, but when I told him who I was, he spent 30 minutes talking about how my life had gone since then. It was almost like reacquainting with a long lost friend, because that's the kind of guy he was.
We spoke by e-mail a few more times after that, one exchange that happened 4 months before he passed. The last thing he told me was to "don't sweat the small stuff". I had a particularly hard week this week, and I re read those e-mails, and Killer was proved right. I didn't post any of this after he died, because I just am not that sappy or into public displays of emotion. But I realized the other day that people really needed to know what a decent human being he was. And if Killer could take time out of his busily schedule to help put a lost kid on the right road, then remembering him is the least I could do. Killer was the same way about letting pepple see his emotions, but he was a good man. At the end of the day, isn't that all any of us can hope to say about ourselves?
RIP Killer, I miss you my friend. Maybe we'll get to finally have that burger and beer, if heaven has any places of any Merritt. Farewell.