Every now and then you stumble upon a book that touches your heart and soul. Dad s Masterpiece: the Patricia Masotto story is such a book. I met the author Jeff Clark at an Irish concert in Bay Shore last year. Mr. Clark s twenty year writing career includes speech writing, corporate correspondence and political campaign material. While assigned to write an acceptance speech for Pat s dad Peter, Mr. Clark became inspired by Pat s story and felt compelled to write an account of her amazing life.
On the playgrounds in Massapequa, a small Middle America town on the South Shore in Nassau County, a phenomenal and gifted athlete began her promising future in competitive sports in the summer of 1972. As a willful, talented, spunky eight year old, Pat made the life changing decision to become a soccer player. She didn t just play the sport, she excelled.
As a young athlete she was focused, competitive and determined to succeed, not just on the playing field but in her personal life. The way she lived and the way she played soccer inspired her teammates as well as her first coach, her dad, who was her number one fan.
She began her soccer career on the playing fields of Massapequa moved on to the travel teams in high school, and finally to a successful career in college. This story is not just about a young woman s passion for the game of soccer. But equally, it s the story about a father s unending love for his daughter.
Dad s Masterpiece|. is the heart warming and heart wrenching story of triumph and tragedy that will touch the hearts of people at every age, especially young athletes everywhere.
On May 5, 1964 Peter and Evelyn Masotto gave birth to their third child who they named Patricia Louise. The Masotto's had five children. They were an athletic family and all of their children were involved in athletics. Pat and her sister Annemarie were self proclaimed tomboys. They had little time for school work and spent most of their free time playing something athletic. Pat was never intimidated by the boys in the neighborhood. More often than not, she was a better athlete than most of them.
As she grew up, she became an extraordinary soccer player, but never let her success as an athlete impair her compassion or concern for others. She was an extraordinary young woman, an excellent teammate and phenomenal friend.
This wonderful adventure, this wonderful life ended on Saturday, June 15, 1985, a little before 3 a.m. in the morning. She and two friends were coming home from a night out, and a drunk driver speeding in excess of 110 mph ran a red light, hit their car and sent it 50 feet into the air. The car was a total wreck. All three died at the scene of the accident, as well as the drunk driver.
They were brought to the nearest hospital. After their parents arrived, the attending doctor shared the devastating news that these three vibrant young people were senselessly killed. Needless to say, the parents were devastated.
Pat and her two friends had been friends since childhood. Their families also knew each other. They decided that the kids should be waked together at the same funeral home and that the funeral Mass would be at their parish church, since they were all Catholic and went to the local church on a regular basis.
Those who attended said that both services were profoundly moving, but also painfully sad. On that June night, three families were forever destroyed to the reckless and irresponsible decision making of another human being.
The months that followed Pat s funeral were very painful for her family, especially for her dad Peter. As the days passed, all he could think of was the wonderful memories of his extraordinary daughter. He thought about her early days as a novice playing soccer, and her final days as successful collegiate athlete. More importantly, he thought of the endless conversations with his little girl, who was determined to live her dreams and make the world a better place.
In the days after her funeral, Peter was overwhelmed by the people who reached out to his family with the countless stories of their daughter s phenomenal life. He was humbled so many times after hearing how this ordinary girl from Massapequa had touched, influenced and helped to change so many peoples lives. She did that with her compassionate heart, her generous spirit, her wit and the integrity that was the foundation of her life.
Her life was too short. In her brief 20 years, Pat did more to make the world a better place than most of us will do in 70 or 80 years. It was her simple life well lived, that has inspired her father to renew his commitment to the game of soccer. More than 20 years after her death, Mr. Masotto continues to reach out to aspiring young athletes, encouraging them to live their dreams and reach their full potential.
Dad s Masterpiece|. is a simple but profound account of one dad s powerful relationship with his daughter that was cut, way too short.
Jeff Clark has the unique ability to capture the heart and soul of this dynamic relationship between a father and a daughter. You cannot help but feel and touch the gamut of emotions that make up the texture of this story. You can feel the tragic sadness that a parent painfully endures at the senseless loss of one s child.
Those extreme emotions give this story of triumph and tragedy a very human face. This story reminds you that life is fragile and messy and that you never know when the unspeakable might be asked of you.
Therefore, it is imperative that you live each moment of life to the fullest no matter what the challenge. Never take for granted the life you have and the life that you share with those you love.
Dad s Masterpiece|.. is such a story. It will touch your heart and mark your soul.