For several months after Tom Cutinella died in 2014, his close friend Gina Mingoia set aside her songwriting hobby.
Cutinella, 16, died in October 2014, when he suffered a head injury in a collision with another player during a Shoreham-Wading River High School football game.
Mingoia, 18, of Shoreham, never forgot the promise she had made to Cutinella — that she’d write a song for him when she “got famous.”
After four months of grieving, Mingoia was ready to write again. The first song she pieced together was “I Wish (Tom’s Song),” an ode to her friend, which she released online Monday. The accompanying video has had more than 40,000 views across several platforms as of Tuesday evening.
“At first I thought we just had one of the best communities, but then it extended out of the community,” she said, referring to the video’s reach.
Mingoia, who graduated from Shoreham-Wading River High School last year, initially kept the song to herself because it was so personal, she said. She finally shared it with her family this past summer, she said.
“I played it for my dad and he said, ‘We have to record it,’ ” she said.
Without her knowledge, Mingoia’s parents contacted Cutinella’s parents, Kelli and Frank Cutinella, who asked Mingoia to play the song for them. They, too, were moved by the song and gave their blessing for Mingoia to record and release it.
In the song, Mingoia sings about how she wishes things would be if Cutinella was alive, that she and her friend could still be attending football games.
“I wish life didn’t move so slow after the good ones go,” she sings.
Mingoia said she recorded the song in August and then spent three months producing the video. The video features scenes of Mingoia singing, reviewing photos of Cutinella and walking down the football field at her high school.
The song is available for purchase on iTunes and for streaming on Spotify and YouTube. The video premiered Monday on the SWRweekly.com Facebook page.
Frank Cutinella, 46, of Wading River, said he felt the song captured his son’s spirit, and he’s not surprised the video has received so much attention.
“I’m very proud to have heard it,” he said. “Tom resonated with people, and I think Gina’s message in her song reminds people of Tom.”
Mingoia said she’s pleased with the response to her song, and has received a number of positive messages from friends and strangers who remember Tom.
“If someone complimented him, he would kinda smile into his shoulder, like he was embarrassed,” she said.“ A lot of people are telling me he’s doing that right now.”