I'm always on the fence about telling this story. You think you're good when you talk to people about it, but actually writing it out can be tough.
Losing a friend or family member is always tough. It's even tougher when you lose them young, before anything really got started.
I met Matty my sophomore year at Temple at our college radio station, WHIP. We bonded over the fact that our freshman years, we lived on the same floor of Johnson Hall, and how much we loved Slightly Stoopid. Matty was electric, there's no other word to describe him. He was funny, witty, full of energy and positivity.
He had the show after mine, and every day, we did the hand off together, and would shoot the s**t about sports, 90's cartoons, and how he was gonna invade my reggae show on Sundays.
One day, myself, Matty, and our homie J.T. were all sitting in the studio. It was in between classes, and we'd occasionally have a coffee or eat lunch in our newsroom. We all talked about the future and what our plans were. Matty wanted to be on the level of Howard Stern and Joe Rogan, just saying whatever he felt like, all for the laughs. He was creative like that.
We made a promise that day: make it, at all costs.
Matty loved to have a good time. I'd see him at my frat a bunch, and just out and about. He also loved his roof parties... he had the dopest view of the skyline.
He was the life of the party, no matter where he went. It's like the world would stop for him, just so the room could take it in that the homie Matty was there.
Unfortunately, in June of 2015, he was on his roof, looking at the skyline, and got too close to the ledge.
Almost two years went by, and I know that smile was still there. I know it was. It was just in a rehab facility. His words didn't do the talking, but his eyes and his nods did. His mom never left his side. There wasn't a day I didn't think about my dude.
On March 13, 2017, I was on a bus to Pittsburgh from Philly for spring break (a true broke boi experience lol) when I got the news that Matt had passed. We knew it was going to happen at one point. We just wanted it to be peaceful. I thought I was gonna be okay, but in that second, I lost it. I was hysterical on that bus (shout out Brianna, the random girl sitting next to me that listened for about an hour.)
So I had my mess weekend. I went out with my friends, got drunk, woke up hungover, trying to forget about the fact that my friend was no longer here.
However, when I got back to Philly, something changed. Something hit me.
That quote... the pact that we all made sophomore year.
Make it, at all costs.
I had my doubts about radio many times in college, so did my peers: "it's not realistic, you'll never get a real job, try photography instead, go into marketing, there's money there." etc.
It was crazy... because the day I got back from Pittsburgh, I realized that I wasn't just doing this for me anymore.
I had to do it for Matty, too.
I buckled down, got more serious with my internship, got more serious with applying for jobs.
I had to do it for the both of us...
I kept in contact with Matt's mom after he passed. I'd say next to my parents, Kathy's my biggest fan.
"You're living his dream, and I know he's with you." She always says that.
When I got this job, I texted Matty. I wish I still had the texts. I wonder if anyone saw it... a person with a new number, his parents, his brother. I don't really care who did. I just needed him to know.
We made it. We finally did.
I look at that picture of Matt McNamee every time I need motivation during the day, the motivation to keep my energy up, to make people laugh and smile, just like we always wanted to. Like we always needed to.
Hope you're tuning in today and every day, Matty Mac. Much love.