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Celebrating Fathers...Michael Fabiaschi on John Fabiaschi..

POSTED June 11, 2013
BY Timothy W. Gaffney
Twitter: @TimothyGaffney

My father is my role model in life. He is the man that I look up to most and is the kind of father I can only hope to become when I have a family of my own. In order to understand where my father gets some of his great attributes I must start with my grandfather, Gino Fabiaschi.

Gino, or Grampa Gino to me, is the kind of guy that you meet and you never forget him. Maybe it's because of his stature and his big, strong frame. It wasn't until my grampa was almost 70-years old until one of his sons, my uncles, beat him in an arm wrestling match. The guy still has the largest forearms that I have ever seen. Maybe it's because he has such a unique name, Gino Fabiaschi, which is a name that just sticks in people's heads.

But I think what makes him special is the way he treated everyone the same. He is genuine with everyone he meets, but he is not afraid to let you know if he disapproves of something either. And that goes for myself as well. During one of my high school basketball games he thought that I could have been playing harder and yelled out that one of my sisters could be doing better (no offense Meredith or Emily). My parents told me about the story years after and we have had many laughs over that. Gino hardly ever missed a game of mine, basketball or baseball.

He is a man with endless stories, the kind of guy who the whole room gathers around to hear the stories of his childhood or raising five kids who caused some trouble along the way. He is a hardworking man, the type of person that sets his mind to something and then does it. He remembers things from his childhood like they happened yesterday, and knows just about everyone in town. He is a true Torrington legend.

My grandfather passed down many of these qualities to my father, aunt, and uncles.

My dad is the ultimate family man. He would much rather that my mom or any of the children have nice things than himself. Although very successful in business you wouldn't guess it by the way he carries himself and how humble he is talking about his work. Many times I've asked him how he had become as successful as he has with work, a marriage of 30 years, and a happy, healthy family. He has taught me that although you may be going through some tough times, tomorrow is always a new day and a chance for a better day. This is certainly a lesson that has helped me through my baseball career with the natural ups and downs of a long season.

Both of my parents were at every game of mine in high school that they could be. They were like that with all four of their children. I had a manager ask me if I was an only child because he couldn't believe how often my parents travelled to see me play. He was shocked to find out that I was one of four children, and that they were like that with all of us. When I went to college in Virginia that did not stop my parents from making trips to see me play. Time and time again they would make the 500-mile drive, each way, to Virginia to watch me play all weekend. They viewed them as mini vacations and knowing how much they enjoyed watching me play meant so much to me. While my parents were just visiting me in Texas and Oklahoma we figured out that they had been to 36 different cities and 20 states to watch me play in college and professional baseball. That doesn't even include all of the places they went to watch me play in high school. I am so blessed to have parents that are able to and want to travel to wherever I am to see me play.

My dad has always been a sports man. I grew up watching him play in Young Men's League basketball and slow pitch softball leagues. I got older and continued to watch him play. Along with some of his friends, his team T.O.G. (The Old Guys) played in Young Men's League basketball league until they were almost 50. When I am home during the winter he will still play pick-up games with me at the YMCA. I hope I am still playing basketball when I am his age because there are days now that I wake up and feel like an old man.

Ever since I can remember my father always had time to go outside and play ball. Or sometimes even inside. When I was very little, he tore his Achilles tendon playing basketball and was in a big cast where he had to lay down for much of the time. We brought up a Little Tikes hoop into our living room and he would shoot a little basketball as I tried to block the shot over and over. It felt like we did this for hours and hours and I'm sure there were many 'last shots' but he would keep playing with me as long as I could. On the same Little Tikes hoop in our basement we would play basketball almost every single night. Either 1 on 1 me versus my dad, or my dad and sister versus me. This is where my dad taught me one of the most important lessons of my life, how to lose, although it didn't come easy. There would be nights that my dad would let me win, even though I swore I won off my own ability and that he was trying his best. And then there would be nights that I would lose. I would cry and cry after losing those games because I just hated losing, but I give both of my parent’s credit for dealing with that because it was a lesson I needed to learn. My dad used to make me shake his hand whether I won or lost. Many times after losing I would try to not shake his hand, but he made me. And we all look back at that and laugh now, it makes for a good story. It was also something I needed to learn. And something that helps me during my baseball career. For the record I still hate to lose, but I don't shed tears over it now.

The biggest gift that my dad and mom have given me and my siblings is that they always believe in us and support us through everything. My dad isn't the kind of guy to show his emotions often but it means the world to me when I hear him say he's proud of me and that it is a thrill every time he gets to watch me play. He has taught me so much in sports but more importantly life. I hope to one day be the kind of man that he is and the kind of father that he is. I owe all that I am to my parents and I am so thankful for each of them. Happy Father’s Day to my grampa, dad, and all the fathers out there.

Michael Fabiaschi

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