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Of McGowan, Fabiaschi and Sparks...

POSTED July 28, 2013
BY Rick Wilson
Twitter: @scribewilson

                                      Of McGowan, Fabiaschi and Sparks....


            One of the first people I ever met covering Torrington High football was Frank McGowan. A huge man with a bigger smile, Frank was the P.A. guy for the Red Raiders’ games and welcomed me to the press box at the Robert H. Frost complex with an abundance of appreciated friendliness.

            Frank always had the rosters for each team and was fun to talk to during the games.  Frank eventually turned over his duties to R.J. Poniatoski but still had that warm smile and big hello every time I saw him as the years past.

            Frank died recently at the age of 76 after a long and illustrious career as a Torrington educator and sportsman. His contributions and acts of kindness are remembered and appreciated. Thanks Frank and condolences to his family and friends.


            Welcome home to Mike Fabiaschi. Mike made a very difficult decision two weeks ago leave the Oakland A’s organization after being told he did not fit into the organization’s plans this season or in the future. It is a credit to Mike, however, that they did not cut him and liked having him around because of his versatility and classy demeanor. Fabiaschi even indicated coaching in the organization was a possibility and brought up by the organization.

            While it is always tough to give up on a dream, Fabiaschi is bright, personable and classy guy. He has always handled himself well and will go on to do good things. You don’t worry about Mike Fabiaschi. He gave it go and knew when it was time to move on.


            Hats off to several area sportsmen and athletes for some pretty impressive accomplishments.

            Congratulations to Fairview Farm golf pro Bob Sparks on receiving the designation of Connecticut Section PGA Junior Golf leader this year. Sparks has always been a great proponent of his game with both youngsters and adults and is one of the easiest guys to deal with you will ever meet. Fairview Farm owner Bob Ferrarotti has a great course and a great pro too.

            Fran Marrello has been one of the area’s top golfers for three plus decades now with a resume that is second to none. Well, Fran added one more accomplishment to the list by winning the Western Massachusetts Open at Crumpin-Fox Club in Bernardston, Mass. on Thursday. He won the same even in 2000 and 2011. Marrello not only has one heck of a golf game but he is one of the nicest guys you want to meet. Nice job Fran.

            Fran, who golfs out of Quabog Country Club in Monson, Mass. these days, has also been elected to the Connecticut Section Hall of Fame.    

            Art Hamm has been a notable sports figure in this area for more than four decades now. But, to referee championship high school games in three different sports in the same year is off the charts. According to Hamm, who was the subject of a fine article by the Waterbury Republican’s Roger Cleaveland, he has refereed 55 state finals – seven in baseball, nine basketball and 39 soccer.

            Hamm was well known before tooting the whistle. As coach of the Terryville High boys basketball team, he guided the Kangaroos to back-to-back Class S state titles in 1983-84, the two teams powered by Art Whitehead.

            At 68-years old, Hamm looks 20 years younger, putting the rest of us, well, most of the rest of us, to shame. Keep going Art!  


            We will have hit August by the end of the week which sadly reminds us that summer is drag-racing to its end. It also means that high school football is right around the corner.  Let’s hope the Torrington High power-brokers allow Athletic Director Mike McKenna and new coach Gaitan Rodriguez to address the issues of the off-season and do not take the ostrich approach. Questions will be asked and should be responded to for a concerned community.


            I’ll admit last Sunday that while my family made an early trek to the Beach I sat glued to the TV to see if Phil could make a run at the British Open. I have no regrets. It was a great theatre and the water will always be there (although it was in Myrtle Beach). It all kind of made my day and I still made it to the beach.


            By the way, I did play a little golf in Myrtle Beach at Caledonia Golf and Fish Club. If you haven’t ever played there, do yourself a favor, it is a beauty. The ambience alone is terrific with huge oaks and a clubhouse patio that sits behind the 18th green giving you a chance to watch players hit over water as they are coming home. It isn’t cheap, but it is more than worth it. And if you get a chance play its sister course right across the street, True Blue (Bobby Sparks’ favorite).


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