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Torrington softball and volleyball standout Carissa Carbone to be honored for her essay on Unified Sports.

POSTED March 28, 2016
BY Timothy W. Gaffney
Twitter: @TimothyGaffney

TORRINGTON: Anyone who is a fan of the site understands our devotion to the Unified Sports program at THS.

Watching these kids play for the love of the game is simply the best time you can ever have viewing sports.

The special needs athletes and their partners have formed a bond that will last a lifetime and one such partner, a stellar two-sport athlete, is being honored for her efforts in April.

Carissa Carbone, a staple at Unified Sports, wrote an essay describing just how much she has gotten out of her experience helping out in the program.

A standout volleyball and softball player for the Raiders, Carbone is part of a growing group at the high school who are learning to embrace the Unified Sports athletes on an equal basis.

The CIAC recently asked for essays from the partners of the special needs athletes and of the nearly 100 received, Carbone’s earned top billing.

Here’s a portion of her essay that talks to that end and about her partner, Mackenzie.

“Being able to connect with the athletes and watching them be a part of a sports team where stereotypes did not have an effect on how they were viewed was amazing.” Carbone said in the essay. “The benefits that accrue as a result of my experience as a Unified Sports partner are a sense of genuine friendship between me and my partner, Mackenzie, and being introduced to a possible career in special education.”

Carbone goes on to talk of how her partner became an essential part of her life and was there for her during a dark time in her life when she lost her mother in November of 2015.

“In that very dark time,” Carbone said, “Mackenzie could be compared to that light at the end of a tunnel. She continually texted me every day, with no knowledge of what had been happening. She got my mind off of it, and she talked to me like everything was normal. She didn’t have to choose her words carefully or watch what she said, like everyone else had been doing, which will always be appreciated but talking to Mackenzie was different. I felt like my normal self, she helped me feel normal. The beautiful thing about this is Mackenzie had no idea what she was able to do for me so effortlessly. I will forever be thankful for being blessed with my friend Mackenzie.”

For anyone who thinks the future looks bleak, remember we are sending kids like Carissa Carbone out into the world soon.

Two Torrington athletes who will be Raiders and friends for life.

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