This morning, I was hit with heart breaking news. A friend of mine perished in a traffic accident last night. We had just spoken in the morning. He and I hadn’t spoken in months, outside of some exchanges on Facebook. The call from him came out of the blue. He was looking to buy a MacBook and, as the resident Apple evangelist in our crew, he sought my opinion. After a few minutes discussing the merits of the particular model and the price, we move on to talk about our lives. He recently became a father, of a little girl just a few months old and a seven year old as well. I was the same, having just gained custody of my two youngest nephews. We talked about the changes that we dealing with. We discussed the role of parents, fathers in particular, how to nurture our children while also being stern, and preparing them for the very real challenges that they have to face in this world. We were both in a new chapter of our lives, sharing something new in common.
I met Kev through a mutual friend. My friends and I schedule frequent get togethers (“Man Dinners”) where we take the opportunity to catch up on life, share some laughs and reminisce about our college days (most of us were roommates). Kev was a friend of one of us and came out to join the group. The conversation went from sports to cars and the Aston Martin (because of course it would) and I made a statement about the price of the Vantage. Kev checked me on it and after verifying it on the internet (because of course we would), I found out I was wrong. It was the beginning of a friendship in which we challenged each other.
Like me, Kev had been boxing and was a big fan of the sport. We got to talking about our previous experiences and he spoke about wanting to fight again. He set a goal to get back in shape and train for a fight. I was up for that as well and decided to join him. I loved to train and so did Kev. We would get our road work, jump rope, heavy and speed bag work in each session. We’d mix in things like plyometrics or weights and pad work when we had access to a trainer. I even introduced him to capoeira, as it is great core work. We talked about our favorite fighters (Tyson, Pacquiao) during our session breaks. We’d try (unsuccessfully) to match PacMan’s punch output on the bag. Our mornings began with a text to each other to meet at the gym. Those messages were a challenge to not let excuses get in the way of our goal. We each held the other accountable. Get your butt up and let’s “get this work in”. We went hard, got it in and got out. We had other challenges awaiting us.
Kev was one the hardest working people I’ve ever met. While he was working one job, he started a training program for another and then picked up part time work as well. He was always about “getting this work in”. We’d have occasional conversations while he was in route to one job or another. He was always thinking about improvement and working towards other goals. Whether it was the mobile training manual for his staff, a new mobile app for getting the newest sneakers or talking about joke writing (we were both giving standup a try), our interactions always revolved around joyous work. I admired that most about him. His actions pushed me to be better, to keep moving and not let life stop you.
Real friends challenge you. They push you to be better. They’re not afraid to tell you when they think you’re wrong. And you know they’re your friends because you love them for doing it.
Kev, I love you and I’ll never forget you. I’ll keep pushing and getting this work in, like you always did and pushed me to do.
RIP Kevin Miller 1975 – 2015