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by Dave Katzman, Rob Tilley, Billy Zimmer
May 3, 2005

Sit down and let us tell you about a man. Michael Scrocca was not perfect, but he was the most genuine person we have ever known. He said what he thought, and he lived how he wanted. He wasn’t quick with a smile — he was always smiling. Even when he was upset, there was a smile on his face. The man enjoyed his days.

Scrocca, which is what he preferred to be called, found humor in everything. More important, the man was the first one to make fun of himself. He was an open book, and he had the rare ability to not take himself too seriously. If there was something you wanted to know, all you had to do was ask. But most of the time there was no need to ask because he had already told you. The words, “I can’t believe you just said that!” were often said to him. He usually responded with a playful laugh and a knowing shrug. Honesty like that is uncommon today, and it is part of the reason he will be missed so dearly.

Any description of Scrocca would be incomplete without mentioning his absolute willingness to help a friend in need. We all counted on him, and he relied on us. We will always be proud to call him a friend. There are hundreds of people at the university who are struggling with this loss, and the grieving extends across most of the world, including Spain, Italy, Morocco and Australia. To anyone who knew Scrocca, we send our condolences and sympathy for our shared loss; to those of you who never knew Scrocca, we send our condolences and sympathy for never having the opportunity to know such a special man.

We should all be comforted knowing Scrocca lived an incredible life. Scrocca lives on in the stories we tell about him and the moments we cherished with him. But words will never be able to express the enthusiasm with which he lived. The man took every opportunity that presented itself and even created a few on his own. There is no doubt Mike had a bright future ahead of him, yet he always lived in the moment without regrets. He lived in a way to which most of us aspire. Mike was always the first to gather everyone together for anything fun. As my friends have put it, he lived by the seat of everyone else’s pants. Nobody could fit more living into 22 years than Scrocca did, and for that we should be thankful.

We will always remember his goofy laugh and his incredible amount of youthful energy. He was idiosyncratic and lovable, and he had an amazing ability to always land on his feet. In that way, he reminded us of a large cat, although he probably would not like the analogy. He was self-assured, intelligent, personable and the only person we can imagine who could drive around the campus with a giant smiley face cover for the tire on the back of his Jeep. It was unique, but then again, so was Scrocca.

We all knew his crazy tales because he would always try to top the last one. In fact, last week we told Scrocca that one word just would not be enough to describe his personality. We decided his personality was a combination of unbelievable and outrageous; Scrocca really was “unbelieverageous.”

One of Mike’s idols in life was Cal Ripken Jr., the Iron Man. That is how Scrocca lived. The man did not know the meaning of the phrase “day off.” He was always excited about each day, always ready for his next adventure. Believe us when we say Scrocca had adventures. Situations tended to escalate quickly when Mike was around, which was just the way he liked it. That is probably why he had so many friends. It was impossible for anyone to keep up with him on a daily basis, so he forged bonds with an incredible number of people. Lance Armstrong lives strong. Well, Mike Scrocca lived hard. He was the Iron Man.

Of all the things we could say about Scrocca, we think he said it best: “I grip it and I rip it, baby. It’s the only way I know.” We miss you, Mike.

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