Comment: Tom Newby and the honor of not wasting time


Today, on the San Joaquin / Sacramento River Delta in Northern California, a group of performance boat owners offer rides to veterans. Dubbed Veterans Day on the Delta and started in 2013 by Dale Rayzor of Discovery Bay, it’s one of the countless events happening today in remembrance of those we lost on September 11, 2001 and, of less in the case of Veterans Day on the Delta happening – those we lost while defending our great land.

Tom Newby understood the value of time and lived his life too short for it.

I was supposed to be in Discovery Bay this morning, but instead I’m supporting a 9/11 commemoration event a few miles from my home in Napa. This is my community and I need to be here. But I’ll think of Rayzor and my other friends in Discovery Bay using their time do something wonderful this morning.

Time is our most precious possession, isn’t it? It cannot be refilled or replaced.

This is something that I learned from Motorboat magazine photographer Tom Newby, who was all 50 when he died 14 years ago today in a helicopter crash. Newby had a lot of rules – damn it, he came with a fucking manual – but one of his favorites was, “Don’t waste time sitting in your hotel room when you’re on the road and have free time. Go out there and do something you can’t do at home.

This beautiful rule of life led me to go mountain biking with new friends in Vermont last month, two days before the Lake Champlain Poker Run. It was the same rule that got me catching jacks off the emerald coast of Florida with Newby in the late 1990s, the same that got my friend and the cohort Jason Johnson and Newby attend an Afroman concert (above with their Colt 45 beers) in rural Georgia on the eve of a 2007 Tunnel Boat Race.

Not knowing this would become the most iconic photo of his incredible career, Tom Newby captured this photo of motorboats racing on the Hudson River in New York City in 2001.

And, OK, it’s the same rule that got the Motorboat The magazine’s crew banned from most go-kart tracks in the Lake of the Ozarks area during the Lake of the Ozarks shootout in the early 2000s.

Newby, as I wrote before, inhaled life in a way like no one I have met before or hope to see again. He helped me teach me the value – hit that, the honor– not to waste time and to be present 100% in the moment.

Twenty years ago today, time was running out for more than 3,000 innocent people murdered in New York. Fourteen years ago time was running out for one of Johnson’s friends and dear ones.

The highest I can pay everyone – the highest honor we can pay them all – waste no time.

Related stories
Comment: What made Tom Newby great
Remembering Hall of Fame Photographer Tom Newby


About Author

Leave A Reply