It was hard for me to appreciate in 9th grade what an extraordinary privilege it was for me to spend time with Amir, but I know I could FEEL it every single day of my Ramaz life. Ramaz was intimidating for me coming from a different school and having recently moved to Englewood. Amir recognized this and befriended me immediately, and we sat together on the bus often.
What a comfort, and what fun it was to retreat to Amirland every day (and that’s the only way to describe it!), to experience his refreshing take on everything in our lives and to become sharper, more self-confident and more at ease every day because of it. A conversation with Amir was a trip into his sometimes impractical but always brilliant world of thoughts you never could have had yourself (or understand), but which made a heck of a lot of sense once he explained them. His compliments and encouragement for me never stopped coming and I know it’s because he felt I needed them.
Amir laughed at everything that made Ramaz a difficult place for some, socially and academically, all the while excelling in both departments and blazing his own path, to the awe of those around him. Who else could be clever enough, like Amir was, to even think of putting the names of “popular” kids from school on the high score list of his computer games at home “so that when friends come over they’ll think I have all these cool people visiting me?” Who out of those could be independent and self-confident enough to be doing this only in jest, because he wasn’t bothered by such silliness?
How many people devoted to Salinger, Vonnegut, chess, computer code and hilarious social commentary could find the time to develop that running, right-handed, off-the-wrong-foot, quick-release scoop layup over Prager and Schwalbe’s outstretched arms?
My blessings and prayers to the Lopatins, and my thanks to all for this website which beautifully tells the story of Amir’s life of invaluable contribution to the world around him. We fortunate enough to know him, and the many others who would have benefited from Amir’s endeavors, have lost someone incredibly special.
I saw Amir in the park last year, with a Frisbee of course, and his beaming smile and genuine friendliness brought me back instantly to the warm comfort of those days we spent together. How I wish I had gone up to Stanford this year to hang out. How I wish he were with us. Amir, I realize now that you created a part of me that will always be with me. Thank you. I miss you.