On Monday, December 7, 2020, the world lost a very a special individual.

Matthew Siwik, a New Bedford native, passed away from a heart attack at the young age of 52. He was more than just a friend of mine; he was a father, a rugby coach/player/mentor, a welding teacher, a sailor in the United States Navy, and so much more.

On April 15, 1968, a legend was born, at least in my eyes.

Truth be told, when I first heard the news, I was shocked, and like most people, the disbelief settled in like a fog. I read somewhere that "Sometimes, you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory." I'm not sure who said it, but right now it's hitting home pretty hard.

My first encounter with Siwik was right here in Fairhaven at the Seaport Inn and Marina. It was a gorgeous summer day and he sat down beside me beneath their outdoor tent. Right off the bat, we acknowledged our common interest: a love for rugby. From there on out, it was only predictable that our "war" stories on the rugby field were shared in conversation. One "rugger" to another, we knew the code and instantaneously became family.

Photo Courtesy of Matt Siwik/Facebook

Siwik was one hell of a well-rounded guy who not only played and coached rugby but also taught welding at Blue Hills Regional Technical High School where he impacted the lives of many in his class. He leaves behind a loving fiancé, Beck, with whom he was very much in love and would fight the universe to protect her.

Siwik served his country as a Navy man, following the footsteps of his past family who also dedicated their lives to the United States of America. Lastly, he was someone whom I admired and was proud to call a friend.

Photo Courtesy of Matt Siwik/Facebook

"Always forward men, always forward!" was his war cry that carried strong across the pitch of a rugby field, resonating amongst the ears of his teammates, predecessors and youth. A wise message that most should follow when coming in contact with life's many obstacles. Something I will always keep with me as I progress throughout my own life.

Photo Courtesy of Matt Siwik/Facebook

My final thoughts as I say goodbye to someone who taught me a lot about the strongholds of my own future: Matt, I'm fortunate to have met you to begin with, and will continue to pass on your legacy by "always moving forward" through even the toughest of times.

There's a saying among rugby players that speaks volumes called "with you." It states that no matter where you go, I go. No matter who you go up against, I, too, will be there to back you up. If you need support, I'll be your backbone, your assistance. Well, Matt, not only was I was always "with you," but I will always be "with you," just as you are with me.

Rest easy, my brother, until we meet again, when the first round's on me.

Enter your number to get our free mobile app