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Ramblins from the Desk of Mr. Gaff. Derby opener, reporters wandering and more!

POSTED September 23, 2019
BY Timothy W. Gaffney
Twitter: @TimothyGaffney

Torrington: The fall season is rolling along and I figured it was as good a time as any for a “thoughts” column, considering I had some today.

Heck, Daniel Jones just brought the Giants back from down 28-10 at the half to a thrilling 32-31-win thanks in part to the awful kicking by the Tampa Bay Bucs kicker who also missed a pair of extra points earlier.

The Mets are not going to make the playoffs but hey, it’s been fun having to keep up on what they have been able to do and if they don’t have any Wilpon moments (where they make bad moves to save money), they might just be fun to watch again in 2020.

Let’s go through some things I’ve seen.  

---On Friday night in Derby, a new, marvelous facility was opened that featured a state-of-the-art fieldhouse that looked a bit like something one would see if they went to a major college campus.

The football field, now turf, lit up the area with the colors of the home team (red), the Derby Raiders who were playing their first regular season game on it.

I remember the old Derby field. Went and covered a Torrington/Derby game the year Torrington made the State Playoffs on a rainy night that had me jumping over puddles while trying to follow the action in a 54-14 win led by a three-touchdown effort from Connor Finn.

That was the 9-1 season, the playoff year, a year after the new Robert H Frost Complex was re-opened with a new turf field and eight lane track and Derby came up and ruined a perfectly good story book ending with a 37-7 win.

For most of my idle time (halftime) on Friday, I couldn’t help but see the smoke rising from inside the fieldhouse where it wasn’t just pizza I was smelling.

The Fieldhouse, built by a generous donation by Derby alumni Joan Payden in memory of her father who was a long- time supporter of the program, features nicer locker rooms then at the Meadowlands when the New York Jets play.

I may be exaggerating that a bit but it seems to fit but the point is, this is now the best place to watch a football game if you are a Derby fans. You can stand on the railing of and of the three levels and get a tremendous end zone view.

You can also get a pretty good workout in if you park in the upper lot. I counted 112 stairs. Down at 6 p.m., not so bad. Back up at 9:45 p.m., not so good. Got a late-night workout in.

On the other side of the Fieldhouse is a baseball field, I first thought it was softball but it’s a turf baseball field that has the same turf as the football field.

Heck, the refs even had working microphones, ah we were treated well on Friday night.

The Raiders from the Northwest Corner may have spoiled the opener with their impressive 27-8 win in a game that they scored 27 unanswered points but the Derby faithful will have this gift for some time and it is impressive.

---Pet peeve. When I listen to a football or baseball or chess match (just kidding, I don’t know how to play well) I want to understand what’s going on but I don’t want the announcers to take shots at the team that clearly isn’t theirs.

I was listening to the Patriots game on 1080 WTIC in the car today and as a Jets fan you know I’m only listening to see if the 50-point rule (if only the NFL had one) applies when Brady kills the New Yorkers who don’t own their own stadium.

As the game was starting, one of the announcers was commenting on the Jets uniforms and thought they were really ugly which they are, but that’s not the point.

I want to have, as Lindsay Nelson used to say, have “The word picture” painted for me.

Save the comments and this is not a Jets defense, announcers should tell the story without the talk show banter.

Same goes for announcers on the public address systems at high school games.

Tell the fans were the ball is, what the down is and please don’t root!

---One of the strangest things I had seen in a long time also happened on Friday night and it puzzled my puzzler (to borrow a Grinch saying).

An older gentleman with a notebook who as clearly keeping stats of the game in Derby did something, I had never seen any reporter do.

He would cut across the field while play was underway. When either team was down on one side of the field, he made his way across to a different sideline multiple times in just a head scratching way.

I’m anxious when I walk across the field when the games over or at halftime, for Christmas sake!

The good news was that he wasn’t hurt or run over but let’s hope more scribes don’t do the same thing. Could get dangerous because we’re not as fast as we used to be.

---The Wolcott Tech boys soccer team is off to a fast 3-0 start, thanks to the scoring of captain Marc Rich who has 10-goals in the first three wins.

The Wildcats start their week on the road on Tuesday with a visit to Bullard Haven Tech followed by a visit to Kaynor Tech in Waterbury on Thursday.

They return home on Friday to host O’Brien Tech at 3:45.

---The Torrington boys soccer team has a big early season game on tap tonight as they host rival Naugatuck at the Robert H Frost at 7 p.m.

Torrington sits at 3-0 while the Greyhounds are 3-1 overall, 3-0 in the Naugatuck Valley League.

Torrington has scored 22 goals in their three games while giving up just four put expect a tight match up against the Hounds.

The Raider girls’ soccer team beat Sacred Heart on Friday by a 3-2 final on the road and sit with 1-1 record starting play tonight when they host Oxford in the first game of night in Torrington.

---Alright, that’s enough from me. Go out this week and attend a high school sporting event, you won’t be sorry.

And be kind to someone as well!



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