Reflections of McCrae by Scholarship Selection Committee Members
The current Scholarship Selection Committee Members are Lily Macnamara, Ramesh Nagarajah, Matt Paul, Emre Toner and Josh White.
Lily Macnamara’s Reflection of McCrae:
For 19 years of life, McCrae certainly didn’t waste a second. It is truly remarkable all he was able to accomplish and the amount of people he touched. McCrae had a strong sense of motivation, optimism and was a natural leader. His impact on the lacrosse field will go down in history, but his character off the field, is where his true legacy will lie.
McCrae had this larger than life personality and was everyone’s friend. It didn’t matter how close you were to him. He showed respect to everyone and always looked for the good in people. He had an amazing sense of humor, and a beautiful infectious smile that could light up any room. Everyone who knew him would say he was their best friend.
From an early age, lacrosse was his first love. He had this incredible inner desire to succeed and never gave up. McCrae gave “determination” a whole new meaning. He played arguably the most important position in the game and did it well. In the days following his death, I watched as many athletes told his friends how they modeled their games after him and looked up to him as a person. It takes drive, discipline and fearlessness to become a goaltender. He was so passionate about the game and persevered through every challenge that came his way.
McCrae was the last line of defense in the game of lacrosse but also in life. No words could ever capture the type of person he was. He was McCrae Williams. There will never be another like him.
Ramesh Nagarajah’s Reflection of McCrae:
McCrae showed me that friendships don’t have to end just because we go to different schools, and that all it takes to keep a friendship alive is to want it to, and act on that desire. He taught me that no dream is out of my reach, and that if I don’t go for it, then I am the only one to blame. He showed me that you can love yourself without ever coming across as prideful, and at end of the day what others think about me doesn’t mean much compared to how I feel about myself.
His artwork, his photography and film, and his designs were all testaments to the freakishly talented guy that he was. The heart that he didn’t reveal to just anyone was the most genuine, and introspective I have ever known. Even once he knew all my insecurities and shortcomings, he still praised and pushed me. He played the least glamorous position on the field and somehow found a way to always be the flyest one out there.
At McCrae’s wake, I looked out and saw thousands of people waiting to honor him. And in the line that stretched out of sight down the street, as one friend put it best, I could imagine McCrae running up and giving each person a big hug. It was proof of the constant flow of individuals realizing that the thanks for a gift, gesture, or experience they cherish belongs to McCrae. While we know that what McCrae still had to offer is unquantifiable, he gave each of us memories that we will never forget.
McCrae held many things in high regard, but above else were his family, relationships, adventures, academics, and lacrosse. When he found a passion, he pursued it relentlessly, and was constantly finding new ways to impress us all. He worked vigorously for the betterment of his circle of friends and larger community. A person fit for the scholarship in his memory should demonstrate characteristics in all these areas and be someone who exemplifies the maverick nature of McCrae.
Matt Paul’s Reflection of McCrae:
If you had the pleasure of knowing McCrae, you would know what an amazing person he was. He was confident, passionate, curious, driven and a truly incredible friend. He had a laugh that uplifted the people around him and was constantly bringing energy to whatever group he was in.
McCrae was an incredibly focused and curious person. He seemed to always have something new that was holding his interest. Whether it was his taste in music, art, or sports, he seemed to always be finding new ways to learn and discover the world and loved bringing people with him to learn as well.
I remember spending hours on end with McCrae when we would create uniforms for lacrosse teams on Photoshop at his house, constantly creating new ideas that we would eventually forget about, but it was the creating that he loved. He was constantly finding new types of music he loved like when he showed me the EDM music he was into one week and then the Reggae music he was into the next week.
For McCrae, it was a constant crave to discover more about his interests and find out what kind of things he loved about them. He was the type of person that was born to create his own path and live a life based on the things he loved. I remember days spending upwards of 6 hours with him in the back seat of a car and never getting bored. He truly did have so much that made him who he was and loved nothing more than to share it.
One word that always comes to mind when I think of McCrae is passion. After spending countless weeks with him traveling along the east coast to lacrosse tournaments, I learned what a true competitor McCrae really was. No matter how well he played, he was never satisfied with a loss but yet left everything he had on the field that day. He loved to compete in all aspects of the word and his passion for lacrosse fueled him every day. McCrae always had something to play for and never let a bad game slow down his drive to be great. McCrae was the back line of defense for every team he played for and loved nothing more than to get in net and compete for his team and defend the people around him.
Above all, McCrae fully embodied what it meant to be great friend, teammate and person.
Emre Toner’s Reflection of McCrae:
I wish I could convey the countless memories and experiences I shared with McCrae accurately, but speaking about Mac is where I find myself at the limit of language.
In the time since his passing, I have realized that to speak about him has required me to reflect on the meaning of friendship itself. A true friend like McCrae is a treasure — he made the world around him a better place just with his presence. A deep friendship is not spontaneously made but rather built day after day. It was McCrae who took the active role of opening himself up to others; his comfort in himself made such friendships occur naturally. McCrae’s absolute devotion to building the relationships he created is a testament to the loyal, loving and downright hilarious person he was.
I could always count on Mac, regardless of situation, to make the day a better one and share a laugh in the process. There were too many days to count where I would go to mandatory school assembly to find McCrae sitting next to my assigned seat, waiting to just get a quick chat in before having to move to his own seat. It was these kinds of little things that he would consistently do to show that he genuinely cared.
The beauty of true friendship, the rare kind that McCrae so effortlessly devoted to those he loved, is that it spans across the caesura of life and death. While he is not here today, he lives on within those that loved him. This special relationship that McCrae was so apt at making with others transcends materiality. I feel he made me a better person in the short time we spent together, and still continues to do so without his physical presence. I continually strive to be more like McCrae and ask myself “how can I be better?” He showed me what true friendship is, something which can not justly be put into words. His confidence, warmth, and humor enabled him to so easily connect and uplift the people around him.
I will always look back at the chapter of my life with McCrae as my most formative years, and be grateful to what I have learned from him. McCrae devoted himself completely to everything he pursued whether it be as a friend, an athlete, an artist or an entrepreneur. When McCrae bought his own drone, he didn’t get one simply for recreational purposes, but rather he made a business out of it, taking aerial videos for real estate companies. After family vacations, he would spend hours editing his footage and getting feedback from friends to create a video edit of the people he loved most. He was as creative as he was determined and his sense of purpose was unequaled; absolutely no one could get between him and his goals—irrespective of what task he undertook, he made sure to do it to the best of his ability and with the intense passion he brought to everything. There will never be a day in my life that he is not profoundly missed.
Josh White’s Reflection of McCrae:
If you played with, were friends with, or ever had the pleasure of meeting McCrae, you knew that he had a free spirit unlike anyone else.
On the lacrosse field and in the locker room, he was the loudest and most energized player;. His passion for and obsession with the game made him the ultra-competitor who relished a challenge and always held the defenders in front of him accountable. Although a goalie, McCrae displayed his fearlessness every game by carrying the ball into the offensive end, throwing multiple stick fakes and making many defenders miss. McCrae loved lacrosse. He cherished the relationships and camaraderie he shared with his teammates, and I was lucky to have been a teammate of his for many years from middle school at Weston into high school at Nobles.
Off the field, throughout the halls of Nobles or elsewhere, one could almost always hear McCrae’s laughter bellowing from afar and his infectious smile made others feel welcomed in his presence. His adventurousness and spontaneity ensured there was never a dull moment when he was nearby (actually, there were rarely days in the summer where Matt Paul and I didn’t receive a text from McCrae reading, “pool?” or, “fishing later today?” or containing an invitation to do some other activity). McCrae had the rare qualities of being extremely likeable and gregarious, and was a leader in his class by nature. In addition, McCrae’s intellectuality and creativity shined through his achievements in the classroom, the numerous video productions he made traveling with his family, and his affinity for drawing and photography.
Above all, what truly made McCrae so special was his character, his affability, and his dedication to lacrosse, academics, and those close to him. McCrae’s legacy can be carried on through this scholarship to a student-athlete who not only exudes love and joy for the game, but also for those around them on and off the field.