At the end of our lives we will have nothing to take with us, but those who love us will be able to remember us and our legacy by remembering how much of a blessing we were to them in our lifetime…” Anurag Prakash Ray.
These are not just words, but a fitting testimony to the subject of this week’s HYPE: Kevin “Crouch” Malcolm.
Like so many others, Kevin Malcolm was raised in a single parent home, living with his mother and his five siblings. Born and raised in Mon Repos, he was a gem in the community; but his genuine passion was that of being the best athlete and footballer that he could be.
From a very early age it was obvious that Kevin was a natural athlete. His zeal for sports was evident from his junior years at the Mon Repos Combined School. There, he developed as one of the best long distance runners and dominated most of the races for his respective divisions under that category, especially the road race. He showed a keen interest in football and as he moved on to the Micoud Secondary School, the love for the game deepened and he became a member of the school’s football team. He also ran track, and was a fixture 0n his school’s InterSec track team.
Kevin was a true sportsman and his passion for the sport of football led him to joining the Grass Street Youth and Sports club. He was a dedicated and devoted member, spending his entire youth, teenage and young adult years at the club. Making the right wing position in midfield his own, he tried everything to pass opposing players and defenders. With his tall, slim frame, he was christened with the nickname “Crouch,” after English and Premier League footballer Peter Crouch. He played with the club until the 2012 season and represented Mon Repos in football at the Under 17, Under 19 and Under 21 level.
Definitely a leader, Kevin was the captain of the club’s road relay team, and he set the example by being the fittest man in the club and quite possibly the fittest person in the community below the age of 25.
He led Grass Street to a treble of club road relay titles at the annual Piton Malta Road Relay from 2010 to 2012. During a beep test fitness exercise, he set his best record at level 13.1 and that was only because the recording for the exercise got stuck and he had to quit prematurely.
Very few persons are born with great personality and character, so Kevin was truly blessed. A jovial and fun-filled individual, Kevin was an entertainer. He met everyone with a smile. Always keen on having a good time, he knew how to be happy and to influence others to be happy.
Just the sight of Kevin cheered you up, always exp-ecting him to do something hilarious. If it wasn’t his smile it was a funny expression or dance or act. He was creative and ingenious, always putting together a short rhyme or inventing a new phrase to set the upbeat tone, always ridiculously funny and leaving you wondering, “How on earth did he come up with that?”
The boy loved an adventure, and that inspired him to seek employment aboard the Norwegian Spirit cruise ship. He got the chance to travel the world, but unfortunately after two stints, he would not return the same.It is believed that he may have sustained a thigh injury in football and did not adequately cater to it. A blow to the same area whilst on the ship brought home a different Kevin. Fortunately for him, his injury was taken care of by his employers as he rested at home, but as his condition worsened, they afforded him medical care in the US.
Sadly Kevin returned home with the same problem, his right leg swollen and painful. As the problem gradually worsened, his leg seemed to inflate as his entire body diminished. His illness unearthed many questions; could anything have been done to avert his injury from escalating to such a degree? Should he have had his leg amputated?
In a conversation I had with him before he headed to the US, he confirmed that his Saint Lucian doctor had asked him to cut his leg. The Kevin I know would’ve kept his legs, with the utmost faith that this was just a setback, and he would be able to enjoy running and playing football again. Kevin had developed a cancerous tumor in his leg, but his optimism never faded.
During one of my visits just prior to his passing, I was consumed with concern over my friend, but amazingly he said, “I there, I holding strong”. He managed to force a smile out of me as I remembered one of his favorite quotes, that “man is lion”, comparing us men to the royal beasts of the jungle, emphasizing their strength and dominance.
You were not a mortal but you are eternal. Your journey ended just short of your 22nd birthday, but for the many of us who got the privilege of enjoying life with you, you left a mark as indelible as any long serving community servant.
My version of a proper sendoff would’ve been for you to see this, but I guess it wasn’t meant to be. Your battle is over; enjoy your rest Kev.