Everyone comes from somewhere, and odds are pretty good that for every successful musician out there, there has been some sort of support system that has helped them along the way. For Winery Dogs drummer Mike Portnoy, one of those inspirational people in his life was his 11th grade Health teacher Pat Lynch, and the rocker just penned a tribute to Lynch after hearing of his death.

Portnoy tells a touching story about how Lynch offered up a lesson about seizing the day and how life can change in an instant. Affected by what he learned that day, the drummer took a moment to embrace his mom and tell her that he loved her as she left for a weekend with her boyfriend that night. Sadly, his mother would die in a plane crash that evening, but had it not been for his teacher, he might not have had that moment of closure.

The "seize the day" lesson is something that has stuck with the drummer over the years, and he even addressed it in song as a member of Dream Theater. Read Portnoy's full post on the death of Pat Lynch and how the teacher affected his life below:


The world lost a great man today…a man who was a teacher of mine in 11th Grade in High School: Mr. Pat Lynch
Mr. Lynch was my Robin Williams from Dead Poet Society (5 years before the film came out...)
He gave a lesson in Health class that had a huge impact on my life.
The date was Friday November 16th 1984:
He was telling the class to Seize The Day ("Carpe Diem")...pointing out how life was so precious and that it could change any moment on the drop of a dime...and to appreciate everything you have NOW while you have it.
He encouraged everybody in the class to go home that evening and give our parents a hug and a kiss and make sure to let them know how much we loved and appreciated them.
That evening my mom was preparing to leave on a private jet to Atlantic City with her boyfriend for the weekend...just before leaving the house to go out with my friends, I turned around and ran back in the house to give my mom a hug and a kiss and let her know how much I loved her. (I had NEVER done that before!)...she was taken aback and asked where that came from...?? I told her I just wanted her to know how much I love her...
That was the last time I ever saw my mom...she was killed that evening when the plane crashed off the Atlantic City shoreline...
I tell this story not for sympathy...but to encourage others to do the same.
I wrote about this story in my lyrics to "A Change Of Seasons" by Dream Theater...hoping to pass on the lesson of Seizing The Day...I even have CARPE DIEM tattooed on my left forearm, so I always remember it...
And I share this story today to thank Pat Lynch for that incredible lesson that November afternoon...a lesson that gave me my final moment with my mom...one that I would NOT have ever had if it weren't for his powerful lesson in class earlier that afternoon.
Thank you Pat Lynch for changing my life and countless others...
Mike Portnoy

These days, Portnoy is making the most of his time with The Winery Dogs. The group recently re-entered the studio to begin recording their second disc. They've started booking shows for the fall. Stay tuned for more info on their next album as it becomes available.

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