World Cup, DeBerry and Torrence. Ramblings from the desk of Mr. Gaff..
THE WORLD CUP: While the United States men’s soccer team may have bowed out of the 2014 World Cup by a 2-1 score to a clearly superior squad from Belgium, you have to admire the no quit attitude of the players and the simply out of this world play of their goalie, Tim Howard.
The 35-year old keeper not only stood on his head stopping what seemed to be 100 shots, he embodied what we who love soccer or hockey for that matter, love about the sport.
You get a hot last man standing in the nets and anything is possible.
Making it to the Round of 16 and getting knocked out for the second straight Cup doesn’t feel particularly good but the buzz in packs pubs, stadiums and houses across the USA was something to behold.
The game of soccer is not a sexy, lots of scoring affair but if you are a lover of the game within the game as I am, it was a blast to watch.
Skill levels on the top five teams is still far ahead of the Americans but count on them being back in four years.
Soccer has a very, very large sub-culture here today and in some cases, the players you will see in 2018 are now just entering the junior or senior years in high school come September.
Nice run boys….
CHRIS DEBERRY: The former Torrington Raider football star was a guest on the Litchfield County Sports Show, live from Applebee’s on Monday night.
One of our favorite young men who lights up a room when he flashes that welcoming but shy smile brought his mom, dad and younger sister with him to talk about how he had earned himself a scholarship from UConn head football coach, Bob Diaco.
A year ago, during the Huskies brutal 3-9 campaign, DeBerry was on the scout squad, showing his teammates their opponent’s offense while trying to get himself noticed.
“It’s a thankless job,” DeBerry told John Nestor from LCS, who co-hosted the show with me. “You won’t get praise if you make a good play, our offensive guy will get yelled at for not making the play.”
Earning your keep in this environment is not easy. Remember the movie “Rudy?”
DeBerry saw extended time during the spring game in 2014 and impressed his coaches enough to get himself some kind of surprise a few days later in a team meeting.
“We were going over something in the meeting,” DeBerry said. “Coach Diaco just stopped and told me I was being given a full scholarship for my senior year. My teammates went crazy, jumping on desks and congratulating me.”
Chalk one up for the good guys.
The young man who gave us so many thrills at the Robert H Frost Complex at THS is going to be seeing time this fall with a team looking to make its mark under a new coach who brings high standards and expectations.
Nothing Chris DeBerry can’t handle.
Good for you Mr. DeBerry, see you at The Rent.
THOMASTON SOFTBALL: Members of the softball team were on hand on Monday night as well at Applebee’s to celebrate their Class S State Championship.
Players included, Erin O’Neill (MVP), Jensyn Cleveland, Nina Barone, Abby Hurlbert, Gabby Hurlbert and Morgan Sanson along with co-coaches, Gene Torrence and Kelly Finlay.
A remarkable run was honored by talking with the players who made it happen and the coaches who never gave up.
Highlights included a very matter of fact answer from the star who sunk those famous free-throw with .06 seconds left in overtime, Abby Hurlbert.
When asked what she was thinking about as she stepped to the line, the senior three-sport star calmly stated, “I didn’t have any other choice.”
Gotta love that answer. It’s logical, makes perfect sense. Miss any and the game is over. Matter of fact.
Finlay, who takes over at the top next season with Torrence stepping away to spend more time watching his son play for Bob McMahon and the boys, had herself a pretty amazing year on the sidelines herself.
The Golden Bear star, who made it to the State Championship game in 2005, was McMahon’s assistant coach when seven of the girls on softball team also took home the top spot on the hardwood.
It’s the story nobody wants to end. It was that kind of year in the small town of Thomaston.