Rico, Rics, or RicoV is one of my closest guy friends since highschool.
During our teenage years, I used to talk to him almost every night. We would talk about everything that mattered: crushes (more of his!), homework, friends, songs, and, of course, Euphoria and Faces. Yes, that was what highschool life was all about, after all.
– Rico’s highschool graduation. I was in 3rd year highschool. L to R: Joanne, me, Pwe, Nich, Vicky, Rics –
– Fun summer weekends at the beach: Miggy, Nich, Mariano, Krie, Veejay, Fat, me, Rics, Cel, Kat, PWe –
Rico was the goalie of the La Salle football team. Something to be proud of for any athlete, but even more for him. You see, he only had one working eye. In his infancy, he lost his right eye to Congenital Glaucoma.
Others would’ve tagged themselves as handicapped, but not him. He had a positive outlook and a sense of humor that wouldn’t allow for this. His favorite trick was to ask us girls for our hands and—if you were the unfortunate victim that day—he would drop his porcelain eyeball onto your palm. (Gross!) A traumatizing sight indeed, but a scene that would have all of us bursting out in laughter.
He always made us laugh. But he was also one of the most sentimental and demonstrative ones in the group. Perhaps because of his experiences growing up, he was more sensitive to those around him. He was the one you could count on to drive you home, keep the girls company through hours of shopping without a single complaint, or give you comfort when you were down.
Rico and I kept in touch through the years. Even as he migrated to the U.S., and we both married and raised our own children, and now that he’s a single dad to his 2 girls, we still chat about our lives through the internet. We talk about everything that matters most now: family, career, schools, and, only recently, running. (Yup, no more Faces!)
– Nov 2010: All grown up! Visited Rico in LA before NYC Marathon. L to R: Jay, Nich (who ran NYCM too), Rics, and myself –
– Rico’s girls and my kids hanging out in Chuck E Cheese –
Rico got into running just when he was going through a difficult divorce. He ran his first half marathon several weeks ago finishing at 2:01. He is currently training for his first marathon: LA Marathon on March 20, 2011—coincidentally on the same day as TBR Dream Marathon—and he’s been working at it seriously and consistently while raising the girls on his own. He didn’t verbalize this to me directly but I know that training for the marathon has helped him have a sense of purpose and given him direction through the tough times.
What’s even better is that he’s using the run to help other children who are blind or partially blind like him. Rico is raising funds for the Blind Children’s Center, a family-centered agency serving children with visual impairments. He is less than $300 shy of his $3,000 goal. If you would like to help one of my dearest friends help others, please click HERE and donate.
All the best in your long run this weekend and on race day, Rics!