Winter 2017 Athletics Banquet Keynote by Tomas Murphy ’17
Thank you, Kevin Klein, for asking me to speak. To tell the truth, when you first pulled me into your office, I wasn’t thrilled. But … you kind of put me on the spot. So I said yes. And as I stand up here, I’m glad I did.
While writing this speech, I thought back to all my experiences at NMH, and one came to mind in particular. It was during the fall of this year. I was taking Crime Literature with John Corrigan and the class was reading The Stranger by Albert Camus.
I became interested in Camus’ views on life, and invested myself more into John’s class than any other I had taken at NMH. At the same time, the varsity basketball team was struggling early in the season. With seven seniors committed to Division-I colleges, we were underachieving.
This was a time of adversity for all of us, including the coaches. We had team meetings, players-only meetings, and seniors-only meetings, and we reached out to former players. We sought help from any outlet possible. What got me through this tough time more than anything was that book, The Stranger.
Two years earlier, I came to NMH as a top-25 recruit nationally, the son of a former NBA player and the younger brother of Duke and University of Florida basketball players. Both my brothers attended a prep school like NMH. I thought my path was going to be easy, and I was naive about how much adversity I would face along the way.
Sophomore year, when I arrived here, I got limited playing time. I lost my ranking, but turned to the gym and toward hard work. Going into my junior year, I expected to play a larger role on the team, but things didn’t work out that way. During another year of fighting for playing time, I saw what the seniors ahead of me were doing, and began to see the culture of NMH and the culture of NMH basketball.
Going into my senior year, committed to Northeastern University, I decided to embrace my last year at NMH the best I could. This year I have been fortunate enough to enjoy a successful individual season, but more importantly, I am a part of the winningest NMH basketball team in regular-season history. And what I’ve realized is, the experience is truly the best part.
Now, with so few days left in the season with my coaches and teammates, all I am concerned with is winning the NEPSAC AAA championship and the National Prep Tournament championship. But I know that even if this doesn’t happen I will look back with no regrets because of how my teammates and I have embraced this year together.
In The Stranger, Meursault, the main character, embraces everything that comes his way, good or bad; he simply lives for the present moment. That is the message I want all of you here tonight to walk away with. It wasn’t until my senior year that I fully started to embrace every experience.
All of you here tonight will have moments with your teammates, coaches, friends, and classmates during your time at NMH that you will remember for the rest of your lives. It’s not only the games, it’s the bus rides, time spent in the dining hall, the badger runs … It’s the time spent together that makes your experience at NMH worth remembering.
You don’t know which experience will have the biggest impact, so take advantage of every opportunity. It took me until my senior year to realize that the only thing that mattered was the “right now” — living in the moment — and it is something I am still working on every day.
For the seniors, enjoy the last few months. Every person I’ve talked to who has left NMH has told me that they miss it. And for the younger students, start embracing the moment now because in the blink of an eye, you’ll be a senior looking back on your experience. Your experience is totally up to you. It can be whatever you make it, so make it special.
The journey is the reward. My experience at NMH has been filled with ups and downs, and has taught me many valuable lessons. I never knew how invested I could become in my own NMH experience. NMH will always be in my heart. This place has prepared me not only for the next step in my college basketball experience, but for my next step in life.
Lastly, I want to thank my parents for allowing me the opportunity to come to NMH for the past three years; John Carroll for coaching me in the game of basketball and also in the game of life; and most importantly, all of my teammates during my time here that made my experience what it was — I love all of you guys.
Photo by David Warren
Photo by David Warren