Torrington Raiders thank Derby Raiders for their act of sportsmanship.
TORRINGTON: Sportsmanship is something we should never take for granted and always recognize when we see it occur, especially at the high school level.
On Wednesday night on the Robert H Frost Complex, they played a soccer game that was won by the home team but in reality, both teams came away winners for something each did off the field.
A year ago, the Derby boys' soccer team paid tribute to a Torrington athlete and family who were going through a tough time.
Our friend, Joe Friscia was battling Stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer and his son, sophomore Jimmy Friscia was a member of the Torrington team.
Derby head coach Chris Kalesavich told his team what was happening to another member of the Naugatuck Valley League family and his team responded by surprising Jimmy and his family with a signed ball and card, letting the family know that the rest of the NVL was thinking of them.
For this outstanding effort, Derby was awarded the Sportsmanship Award by the CIAC and on Wednesday night, it was the other Raiders turn to thank them for their kindness and generosity.
Led by Jimmy Friscia, the team presented Derby with a signed football from the entire Torrington team and also gave them a card after the game.
"We wanted to congratulate them for winning the Sportsmanship Award,â€ head coach Mike Fritch said. "I left it up to the kids to come up with something and they did a great job putting it together."
We lost our friend Joe in August, although if you look closely, you can picture him in the home stands, wildly cheering on his son and the Raiders from Torrington.
On the field, the northern Raiders beat the Valley Raiders by an 8-0 final to improve to 2-0 on the season with tough games against Oxford (Friday on the road) and Watertown (next Wednesday at home) on deck.
In their home opener against Holy Cross last Friday, Torrington won 3-1 but held a 2-1 lead until a last second goal by Friscia made it look slightly easier than it was.
There are a lot of new pieces to the Raiders this year and on Wednesday, Fritch wanted his team to work on some of the things they needed to before heading into the next two games which will be challenging.
"Tonight, we kind of played the ball over the top because we could," Fritch said. "We"re going to need to keep the ball down and find feet better over our next couple of games."
In a final bit of fitting sportsmanship, Friscia was awarded a penalty kick after a foul by Derby inside the circle.
Up 8-0, Friscia was certainly not going to rub it in by trying to score against a team that had thought of him during his time of need so he sent his shot sailing off to the right and off the cross bar.
Keeping an eye on what is truly important is much more important than another ball in the net.