A year ago, I learned about the horrific death of a childhood friend of mine, Nicholas Bazan. I grew up with the Bazan brothers as we lived on the same street. There was two groups of kids who would go out and hang out in the summer in the Texas heat. I belonged to the older group of kids while the Bazan brothers hanged out with the younger group of kids. When both groups would get together to play a sport like baseball, with a wiffle ball, or street football, Nick was always picked last because he was the youngest in the group.
It was hard for him of course being the youngest. He was still learning to catch a football which meant he hardly was on the receiving end of one. When it was his turn at bat, you know everyone in the outfield moved closer because he hadn’t developed the upper strength yet. In due time, the older group of kids moved on and eventually the younger group of kids were included more into the kids activities. The group also eventually expanded to other blocks within the area as we realized and this was more than welcomed especially for our annual Turkey Bowl played at the old track behind Mcallen High School; you really need 22 kids, 11 for each side!
In the end, my lasting memory of Nick, was a kid with a heart of gold. Yes, he complained about being picked last or never getting his hands on the football much. But when he wasn’t, he was a joy to be around with. I remember his laugh and his silliness and I can only imagine as an adult those traits continued over. With facebook, I was able to connect to some of my old neighborhood friends and that is when I learned of his death. Part of my childhood died on that day. But I know Nick would not want me to be sad as he was the first of us to get to Heaven. Rest in peace now Nicholas Bazan and we’ll see you on the high ground!