once again on a very sad and somber Monday early evening in Mtn. View, California.
I am going to write this and the rest of my columns in the memory of Matt
Alvis, son of many time midget champion Floyd Alvis. Matt tragically took
his own life last Monday in San Carlos,California.
After hearing about the news my first thought
was shock, then disbelief, then denial. I called my dad to see if he had
heard of anything and he hadn't. It was until the next day that I found
out that my worst nightmare had come true. Matt was one of the kindest,
most caring person and he was also very quiet and kept to himself. The fact
that Matt was very shy could shed some reason as to why he did this. WHY?
is a big word when you are reaching out for answers as I feel sorry for
Matt's entire family and friends in this tragic loss. How do you say good-bye
to someone who was your friend but obviously many of us didn't know that
Matt was hurting that much? How do you come to grips with the reality that
you will never see that person again, only time will tell.
People grieve differently and in many ways
it is important to have closure and I thought I did. I was fortunate enough
to take the 2M car (thank you very much Al and Brent) for a Memorial lap
at Chico last weekend. As I fired the car to go around the 1/4 mile bullring
I had all sorts of thoughts going through my head but the biggest one was
that Matt was looking down and had that shit eating grin on his face to
say that he enjoyed my salute to him and that is what got me through until
today. Well, after attending the funeral today and watching them put him
to rest I had so many different memories that came to mind. Matt was such
an easy going guy it was easy to forget that you hadn't seen or heard from
him for a while, but when you did see him he would always smile :)
I grew up at the races with Matt as his dad
and mine raced together for years, but never really got to know Matt until
he started racing midgets. What a character he was, had a great sense of
humor and loved to laugh. Some of the things that I said to make him laugh
probably can't be written but I am sure that Matt always left our conversations
with a BIG smile on his face. I always thought I was older than Matt but
I just realized that he was 1 month older than I am. To live only 33 years
on this earth is not a long time but Matt packed a whole bunch of excitement
into those years.
I wish Matt could realize all the friends
and family he had in his time of need (I am sure there was over 300 people
at the funeral) but Matt was a loner and as I have said many times since
this happened is once the ghosts and the demons get inside your head, it
is too late. I just wish there was something I could have done to help my
friend. I guess I never realized how strong Floyd was until today. Through
all the adversity and the pain he still managed to smile for everybody and
thank everybody for coming.
Floyd went to Fernley, Nevada last weekend
to do what he loves and that is race. Boy did he race!!! he won the Trophy
Dash and the heat race before settling for 3rd place. This man is 66 years
old and it is a tribute that he still has the drive and determination.
Matt never won a Championship in BCRA but
he won his share of main events in his short lived career. In the past few
years Matt got away from racing as the midgets have gotten very expensive
so he took up Mountain Bike racing. I wish I would have gone and seen him
race as I hear he was very good. Which brings up a good point that Matt
was very good at everything he did and if he wasn't good at something he
wouldn't do it. Matt had a very bad crash on his bike which shattered his
ankle. This took away something he loved and he had a hard time trying to
race a midget after that because he didn't have full range of motion in
his ankle which is very important in a race car.
Matt, like many people from my past days called
me Billy and I can't think of too many people that still do but he always
did, I wasn't BF to him I was Billy and I liked that. I would love to explain
why I hadn't seen or talked to Matt in over a year but I can't, maybe it
will open my eyes to the reality of life as we know it and to never ever
take it for granted. I will treasure every minute that I got to spend with
that redheaded character we all knew as Matty and I hope that Floyd and
the rest of the family can get through this very difficult time.
To Matt I wish I knew what was going on in
your life to do this but you are in a better place now and I hope that your
life and not your death will make people realize just how important they
are and you were to themselves and their families. Strap that orange helmet
on one more time as you line up for you next feature up in heaven. God Bless
you Matt....... Rest in Peace, your friend Billy Foland
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