Dwight Warren heartbroken after loss of son: ‘I was the proudest father’
A strong faith and the prayers and support of family and friends have helped Dwight “Payback” Warren cope with the death of his son.
Marco Warren had followed his father into football and enjoyed considerable success, winning the Most Valuable Player award on three occasions and helping PHC to multiple league and cup honours before losing his life in a hit-and-run incident in the early hours of May 14 .
“What has kept me together without a shadow of doubt is family, friends, my faith and brothers and sisters that have been praying for me, and also just trying to stay in the word,” he told The Royal Gazette.
“It’s just like a brand-new car, you always keep it clean and tidy but after a period of time you don’t maintain it as much as you should, so I think that was the key; just to maintain my relationship. That’s what helped me, the prayer and the comfort of the word and definitely friends and loved ones.”
A former Boulevard and Bermuda player, Warren, 55, says the loss of his son has been devastating and evoked painful memories of the death of his brother Dennis, who also died on Bermuda’s roads.
“It’s impacted me a great deal. Obviously, for one, he’s my son and also because of our wonderful relationship, so it’s pretty devastating,” he said.
“Dennis was also on a Sunday and at almost the same time, so that was like a double-blow memory.”
That tragic loss of Dennis inspired Warren to join North Village from Boulevard in his brother’s honour.
“I was still playing for Boulevard when I accepted the Lord. Then, after that season, my brother passed and I decided to join North Village in memory of him,” he said. “That’s what made me go to North Village; otherwise I would have still been playing for Boulevard.”
Marco was always destined to take to the football pitch and Warren took great pleasure in watching his son.
“I felt that Marco was a complete player,” Warren said. “He worked very hard going forward, he liked to govern in the middle and worked in defence. He pulled both the offence and defence together, so he was very gifted, very talented.
“He was a student of the game and that’s what I loved about Marco. It’s not just the physicality but it was also the intellectual aspect, so that’s what I was really impressed with.
“I saw a lot of similarities between him and I, and I am sure a lot of other people can say that.
“One of the things we had in common was our work ethic. When I grew up I realised that training was good but the older guys that I grew up around — like Cyril ‘Dago’ Steede, Wayne Richardson, and even Dennis Brown in our era — those guys did extras, so that’s what my son implemented in his game.
“He did extras and I was just impressed with his work ethic because I knew once he got his fitness down he will be fine as far as the mental aspect of the game.
“We had a lot of similarities as far as soccer such as training or even the same sort of style; not afraid to take on players or do whatever it takes to help the team.”
Given the rich sporting legacy on both sides of his family, the skill Marco possessed was handed down through generations as he was also the great-grandson of PHC and Bermuda football legend Earl “Townsey” Russell and grandson of former North Village, Southampton Rangers and Bermuda midfielder Randy Bean.
“Wherever he went he could not escape from it and my father-in-law Randy helped hone his potential with older players he took along, which helped in the long term,” he said.
“That’s how he learnt, playing with the older boys. I was the proudest father. I was so proud of him and I knew his potential. I just knew he was a gifted boy when he was a baby running around with the ball.
“I would give him a tennis ball to dribble in the house and he used to follow me. I used to also help him shoot the ball and before you know it, he was spanking it on his own so he was developing that IQ at an early age.”
Warren’s son started his career playing for North Village at under-seven and under-nine levels before joining PHC.
“His heart and soul was PHC and that’s got a lot to do with his great-grandparents Townsey and Alice Russell,” Warren added. “They had a great influence on him making the decision to join PHC because that’s where they originated.”