Background article from the Boston College Chronicle, May 2005: "BC Mourns for Scott Laio"
Scott Laio was a BC oarsman who passed away suddenly following a historic victory at the 2005 Dad Vail regatta. We continue to honor his legacy today; there is always at least one shell in the Boston College fleet that is named in his memory, and CHillRA hosts the Scott Laio Memorial Golf Tournament every fall. Below is a tribute to Scott.
on scott laio:
The best way to tell you about Scott is to tell you the story of how he got the nickname, The Goose Slayer.
The name originates from the week leading up to the 2005 Dad Vail Regatta. A post-practice debate and million dollar bet (yet to be settled, by the way) ensued about whether the turn on the Schuylkill River 2k course was to port or starboard. To no rower's shock, but defying all logic, the coxswain was wrong! Minutes after returning to campus, Scott sent an email confirming the turn to starboard and declaring victory.
His pair partner and fellow believer in the starboard turn, Greg, replied celebrating victory. His email was signed "The Oracle of Rowing Knowledge." What ensued was, as it quickly became known, The Day of Email Infamy. It was pandemonium in the form of one hundred emails sent in less than ten hours pertaining not one bit to anything important. High school physics lab reports were shared, post season wrestling grudge matches were scheduled, and the historical relations between Australia and New Zealand were passionately debated.
An absurd feat even in modern day, this occurred before smartphones where emails were actually sent from computers. These constant exchanges provided a welcome and necessary distraction from the craziness of finals, cutting weight, and the fear that resulted from the possibility that our coxswain would steer us into a wall come race day. While it was excessively trivial, it was ridiculously memorable and fun!
Soon enough, everybody started signing their emails with self-appointed nicknames. Scott, as the greatest bowman I ever had the pleasure of rowing with, quickly identified himself as The Goose Slayer. As any bowman on the Charles has surely experienced, a high stroke rated piece turns a racing shell into a high powered missile and many a goose has found itself collateral damage. Nobody is quite sure what happens to those unlucky geese, but they live...we think. We hope.
To Philly we went, with nicknames in tow. We repeated as Dad Vail Champions, but tragedy struck. We lost a friend and teammate in Scott. For most, if not all of us, the worst day of our young lives. There was something comforting, though, about the bonding that had taken place the previous week. A fairly no-nonsense crew, we had previously stuck to first and last names. It was fitting, then, that right before we were all forced to grow up real fast, we got to embrace being young one more time.
Scott was a well-rounded and complex kid. There were layers to him many of us never got to fully experience. Somehow, being able to remember him not just as Scott the Rower, Scott the Friend/Brother/Son, Scott the Scientist, or simply, yet rarely, Laio (whether it be pronounce correctly or intentionally not), we could also now remember him as The Goose Slayer.
The name triggers memories of his trademark laugh, his underused but witty humor, and his general fun-loving nature. Scott only got to respond to The Goose Slayer for a few days, but in some alternate universe, it's a title that he responds to daily and will keep embracing for decades to come.