Mourning the loss of rugby’s heart and soul Reply

By Jordan Mayblum — Co-Editor-In-Chief

The Lasell College Rugby Club rallied around senior Jimmy Curtis (center) when he served as the team's co-captain.

On any given night, it could have taken Jim­my Curtis 30 minutes to decide on a hat to wear. On most nights, he ended up sporting his favorite Hartford Whalers snapback.

His hat collection, along with his Nike Air Maxs, old-school NBA jerseys and matching basketball shorts were just some of the things he never quit on. According to his father, Jim Curtis Sr., his son was fully committed to whatever he did, “When he started something, he finished it,” Curtis Sr. said.

Jimmy Curtis died unexpectedly due to in­juries sustained from an accidental fall. He was days away from returning to Lasell as a senior criminal justice major and a founding member and former co-captain of the rugby club.

The club, along with his goal to become a police officer after graduation, were just two on a long list of the things that Curtis loved with all of the big heart that his family, including his rugby bros, know he had.

His teammates were well aware of his ded­ication to them, with numerous injuries serving as a testament to his father’s assessment that he “wasn’t a quitter,” and helping to build the aura of invinceability many teammates saw in him.

Curtis once reset his jaw on the field, and played through broken thumbs, waiting until af­ter the game to make friends in the ER waiting room. “He averaged two broken noses a year,” according to senior teammate and club Presi­dent Ryan Rezendes.

The men of the rugby team consider each other brothers, which is why the term ‘bro’ is reserved only for a select few. With their spiri­tual leader’s passing, the term has taken on a renewed meaning.

Each time the rugby bros take the field this year, they’ll not only be without their brother, but also the team’s heart and soul. Many of his bros remember him as being “funny but serious.” He had an undaunted desire to win but wouldn’t let a loss get in the way of leading his bros in song on the ride home from a game.

His talent for music wasn’t limited to the team van. The T was just as good a place to start singing Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

About a week before he died, he uploaded a video of himself performing Little John’s “I’m the [expletive].” But his range reached much farther.

At his freshman orientation, as a member of the “Stahfish,” as he called his group, he joined then-future bros Mike Costello and Alan Dooley in singing along to Donna Summer on stage.

During the rugby club’s first ever home game, an event he helped make a reality, a bloody nose prompted Curtis to yell across the field, “Mom! Do you have the bleach?!”

Curtis adored his mother and never want­ed to disappoint her. According to his father, chewing tobacco was the lone habit he main­tained despite her disapproval. He kept his stash of tins behind the driver’s seat of his blue 2003 Chevy Impala with a gold bumper. Curtis Sr. said Jimmy chose not to paint it. His son told him, “It’s gangsta now.”

One of Curtis’ primary missions was mak­ing others happy. “Jimmy was never at the top of his own priority list,” junior Antonio Nesbitt said.

He made people laugh with any num­ber of antics. He still played with Tech Deck skateboards, established a half-court shots only rule in a game of NBA 2K9 (the final score was 6-3) and lost his shorts with stunning regular­ity during his games.

“We might finally go a game without seeing his ass,” Costello said.

He rarely wore jeans but, “He was the only 260-pound kid that could “Dougie” in skinny jeans,” Dooley said. He preferred his outfit of T-shirt or jersey and shorts even through the win­ter months. On occasion, he’d wear his rugby team hoodie.

When the team holds its lone home game this season, the third ever, on Family, Friends and Alumni Weekend, they’ll pay one of many trib­utes planned for their fallen brother in front of Curtis’ family. Regardless of the outcome, it will be a fitting tribute, but only if they truly compete. “If we don’t compete,” Nesbitt said, “we can’t say we’re playing for Jimmy.”

Curtis’ family, including his father, mother, and 13-year-old sister, understood the impor­tance of the brotherhood he and his teammates shared. Curtis Sr. said the decision to forward all donations to his son’s bros on the rugby team would help keep what his son loved so much alive.

Jimmy was apart from his bros only at din­ner time, but when he was there, he nearly always had a turkey sandwich. Instead, Curtis chose to go home for dinner or spend time with the girl­friend his father was certain he’d marry. One of his last meals with his family was a full turkey din­ner, his favorite.

Window Seat: Bridge Trouble Reply

So, this is what the other side of the bridge is supposed to look like?

Nearly a year removed from what turned out to be a painful 2010 season for the Red Sox in more ways than one, the team was supposed to have evolved into a powerhouse. Boston was supposed to cross the “bridge” that General Manager Theo Epstein put in front of it two winters ago and be on their way to a third World Series title in this young century in 2011.

After limping to the finish line in 2010, Epstein and the Sox paid a massive toll to cross that loathsome bridge, spending $142 million on a shiny new left fielder to go along with the first baseman they imported from the west coast in exchange for a who’s-who of Boston’s top prospects.  So far, only one of them has panned out.

That new left fielder coming to Boston was supposed to be a coup for the Sox, not only for what he’d bring to Fenway, but what he’d take away from a Tampa Bay Rays franchise seemingly destined to return to the American League cellar without him.

Not long after Carl Crawford arrived, he found himself featured in a commercial where he bragged, “I’m always a threat to steal.” He wasn’t being entirely untruthful.

But, as it turns out, the only thing he’s stolen since he got here is John Henry’s money.  As a result, he already finds himself in danger of joining the likes of Edgar Renteria, J.D. Drew and, yes, John Lackey on the list of free agents that never quite panned out for the local nine. Fortunately, or perhaps not, he’s got six years left to earn the money that he’s already been guaranteed.

Through 142 games, Boston finds itself in second place behind a Yankees team that wasn’t supposed to be anywhere near as good as they’ve been while at the same time clinging to a slim lead over the Rays in the wild card race.

That alone is reason enough for the Sox to begin constructing the panic room that they’ll undoubtedly have hide in this winter should the (once) unthinkable scenario of missing the playoffs come to pass. But wait, like all those infomercials selling us stuff we don’t need, there’s more.

The man that was supposed jettison Boston over the bridge and help sink the reigning AL East champions at the same time has instead been at the root of their struggles. Even though it’s hard to blame a team’s failure on one player, he’s doing the best he can to prove that it’s possible. Crawford has stolen 17 bases so far this season. That’s three more than Rays designated hitter Johnny Damon and three less than his replacement in Tampa’s outfield, the not-so-legendary Sam Fuld.

When he arrived, Crawford was ready to drive in more runs, hit for more power, get on base more often and, of course, steal more bases. Instead, he’s seen mind-numbing declines in every major offensive category while at the same time proven that he is indeed a threat to steal.