Lessons In Sportsmanship

ciacnewHere is something a little bit different.

One of the benefits of education-based school athletics programs is that valuable lessons are learned on the field win or lose. Never is that distinction more clear than after a championship game with all of the emotion that entails. That also means it’s a time to see just how clearly those lessons are being learned from some magnanimous comments in the post-game remarks from players and coaches. It’s heartwarming to see the perspective and wonderful sportsmanship displayed from those on both the positive and negative side of the results.

With that in mind, here are some quotes from championship stories from the last calendar year that seemed like wonderful examples of the sort of sportsmanship and and educational perspective that athletics can provide. These are by no means the only examples, just some that jumped out. And thank you to the coaches and athletes that are leading by example.

“I’m proud of what they do on the field,” Gleason said of his team. “I think what these girls carry from here to their schoolwork and into life is what’s really important. This is nice, but two days from now. … it won’t be a big deal. Right now it’s a big deal. What they accomplish in life and what their future is what’s important. I feel that pretty strongly. I know that sounds crazy.”
“It was a tremendous season,” Farmington coach Laura Arena said. “How do you not walk away proud of the season they had? They are in the state finals. Was it the outcome you hope for? No. Am I proud of the fight they put up? Definitely. There is a ton to be proud of.”
“They might not realize that now but I’m sure they will,” Trojan coach Jim Martocchio said of how special a season they’ve had. “I was trying to tell them all game, it’s a big honor to be here and they worked their butts off to get here and to knock a bunch of monkeys off our backs that have been holding us back year after year. It felt really good. We thought that momentum might take us through today, but then you run into Darien.”
“We were one strike away,” Biggs said. “That’s baseball. Unfortunately, it did not bounce our way today. One game should not define who we are as a team or what we have done this year.”
“Volleyball is all about momentum and even though we won the first set, Stamford was able to carry the momentum into the next set,” said Ridgefield coach Lidiana Cibere, whose team made its first state championship appearance. “We have nothing to be ashamed of. We’re more saddened that the season is over than that we lost.”
“Definitely didn’t create enough scoring chances, but we didn’t have the ball that much either,” Ellington coach Roy Gurnon said. “Brookfield did a great job today. Well-deserved champions.”
“The kids fought hard. That’s all I can ask for. The kids gave Fairfield Warde something to get excited about, and they gave the town of Fairfield something to be excited about.”
“I wanted a banner all four years on the team and we didn’t do that. But you don’t play for years on the banner, you play for love of the game. To get to Mohegan Sun was a great experience.”
“Each volleyball game usually comes down to a few points. We had a few bad stretches,” Preston said. “Ridgefield played so hard. They didn’t let our three previous wins over them this year deter them. They have so many different people who stepped up.”
“Cromwell was clearly the better team tonight,” Notre Dame coach Eric DeMarco said. “I think that a lot of it (the turnovers) was Cromwell’s defense. I said to the coaches at the end of the game that they did to us what we’ve been able to do to a couple of teams in terms of locking down. They’ve been here before. They’ve been on the big stage. They’re undefeated for a reason.”
“We couldn’t get it done. (Lawton) was that good,” said Notre Dame coach Jeff Bevino. “She threw it harder (than most pitchers), had a great curve ball and didn’t walk anybody. And she has such a presence out there.”
“We told them that team was not going to go away,” Immaculate coach Nelson Mingachos said. “They’re disciplined, they’re well-coached and they have a bunch of seniors on that team, so we knew it was going to be a battle.”
“We exceeded what I figured at the beginning of the season. Our five seniors have done one heckuva job for us and I’m glad we got to this point but unfortunately, Lauralton Hall played better so they deserve it,” Palmer said.
“Kudos to Lyman, they took us out of our system right from the beginning.”
“They got into our face and made us feel uncomfortable,” Thomaston coach Bob McMahon said of Canton’s efforts. “That’s the best defense we faced all year and they came to play. Hats off to a championship effort. They really deserved it.”
“It was rough down there,” said Gerbo, who tied with teammate Will Hatcher with seven rebounds to lead all players in the game. “Hard work from both teams and it was very physical down there. That’s how I like it. Got to give respect to their big guys. It was a great matchup for me and Will.”
“(Seymour) came out working hard, they came to play and they deserve it,” said Carbone.
“You have to tip your hat to New Fairfield. What an amazing end to their season,” New Milford coach Chris Piel said. “I’ve always said, it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish. And they proved that today.”

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