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A special thanks to Colangelo and Turina

POSTED December 27, 2010
BY Timothy W. Gaffney
Twitter: @TimothyGaffney

Every great idea starts with a wish and becomes a reality solid with planning, determination, skill and devotion.

It was no different when I thought up what has become litchfieldcountysports.com

From a radio program on WAPJ F.M. (105.9 and 89.9), the three of us, Rick Wilson, Patrick Tiscia and myself wished we could write more.

Each of has had been free-lance or full time sports writers for our two main local newspapers, the Torrington Register Citizen (all three of us at some point) and the Republican American (Rick and Pat).

From that desire to put forth our stories at will, the radio program became an online source for local sports, featuring not just the game stories but the behind the scenes stuff most people don’t ever know about.

The response has been remarkable to date, both from a readership stand point and an advertising one.

I would like to take a minute and thank a few people who have been supporters since day one.

Without their guidance and unwavering devotion to what we are trying to do, none of this would have been possible.

First I have to backtrack to a ceremony I helped put together at Coe Park, honoring athletes who had made the All Naugatuck Valley League teams that were picked for the fall season in 2008.

With the help of Torrington Mayor, Ryan Bingham, we recognized the honors Torrington players, including the boys basketball team that made it all the way to the Class L State Championship game that year, had received.

Sitting in the audience was a member of the Torrington City Council who I had seen at meetings and around town but did not realize he had any connection to the sports world.

The gentleman, Michael Colangelo, presented then head coach Tony Turina with a plaque from the City, acknowledging his teams accomplishment that season and the devotion the coach had given to the school for all those years behind the bench.

Colangelo congratulated me for doing a good job and handed me a card that had a very familiar logo on it, that of EPSN where he had been working for more than 16 years. This Torrington native was responsible for a huge portion of the growth of the Worldwide Leader in Sports both here and around the world.

From that day, a tour of the Bristol facility was taken and I got a chance to pick the brain of someone who had helped take an idea or a wish, and made it into a reality.

Many a conversation came after that on how to build what I was envisioning and at first, the radio show was born.

I understood that my friend Michael had forgotten more about how to create what we were doing than I would ever know, and I trusted his guidance and carried out what he recommended.

There is no greater professional thrill than creating something from just that idea.

To this day, even though he has moved from Connecticut to Florida where he revitalized Disney’s Wide World of Sports into an ESPN south, Colangelo keeps tabs on how we are doing and is a positive influence in our development.

I cannot thank him enough for his input and consider him a good friend.

Michael, when I am in Florida this spring, count on getting a visit from at least one member of the litchfieldcountysports.com crew.

With a foot or more of snow on the way as I write this, April can’t come too soon.

The second person who I met on the courts first and at his place of business second, has been an unwavering supporter and idea developer.

It is that coach who was honored at the Coe Park ceremony that Colangelo attended, Tony Turina.

I knew Tony from covering games at times for the paper or from seeing him at Torrington girls games he came to when his schedule permitted.

Always a class act who was glad to see you, I valued my interaction with someone who devoted so many years to coaching and developing young men into good citizens.

My full time gig for the past 15 years has been with Frito-Lay and one year when I chose a new route that included stops in Thomaston, I went into Tony’s Coffee Express to make a delivery.

Much to my surprise, a familiar face came around the corner as I was working, it was coach Turina, he owned the joint.

It was the beginning of a tremendous friendship that helped my writing career immensely; I now had a contact on the inside from the local sports scene.

That was the year the Raiders took home the top prize in Class L, the State Championship season of 2006.

It was a thrill listening to what was transpiring with the team, the behind the scene stuff and the thrill on the coaches face when the ride was over.

Always a supporter of my writing style, Turina never missed a chance to say, “good job” on a story.

It motivated me to strive to be a better story teller every day and at every game.

Turina would always remark that he felt like he was at the game when he would read one of my stories; it’s how I always want people to feel when they are done reading about a game they were not at.

What I always admired about his coffee shop was the friendly atmosphere, how my order was in the works when I pulled in each morning and the fact that my coffee was stirred!

Tony’s Coffee Shop is also just three doors down from the big dog in New England, who go by the initials DD, but who do not intimidate a hard working man and his team.

A Torrington team never backed down from any opponent at any time under Turina; his business has the same philosophy and it works.

From the first time I brought up creating this web-site until it’s launch and each day since, coach Turina has been a valued counsel and advisor who believes in this idea with all his might.

For that I say, thank you Tony.

We hope everyone has a good holiday season and a great 2011, we will be out there doing what we love; telling stories about the people we cover in the local sports world.

For more from Timothy W. Gaffney click here