Submitted by Ferdinando G Schiro
Usually, in sports we see matchups where coaches were once friends turned enemies or are family members playing for the top prize, consider the Marinelli Bowl a few years back. Seldom do you get a chance to coach alongside your former high school coach, lucky for me this is the case.
I first met Coach Kelly at Greenwich High School (GHS) during his first few years at the helm for GHS Rugby. Coach Kelly had big shoes to fill, his record will tell you that he not only filled those shoes but succeeded in continuing the GHS Rugby tradition, 8 out of 9 State Championships is quite the achievement!
Fast forward to Fall 2019, a new rugby season, I have been coaching rugby with the Old Greenwich Riverside Community Center (OGRCC) for a few years and was excited to see an under-18 team being formed.
The added bonus was that Joe Kelly would be the coach. “Wow,” thinking to myself, “What are the odds that I get to coach alongside my former coach, you know, the guy that helped me learn and study the game.” Ecstatic is the adjective I’ll use to sum it up. On the first day of practice, Joe immediately remembered who I was even though it had been years with the occasional Greenwich Avenue run in “Hi/ Bye” in the mix. After exchanging pleasantries, we got to work. Throughout the season Joe Kelly would constantly ask me my thoughts on how practice was going, and if we needed to tweak our game or practice plan. He valued my input! He also gave me the opportunity to run practices and even take a team to New Jersey for a tournament, unfortunately, the rain disallowed that to happen. Joe gave me great and constructive feedback allowing me to grown even more as a coach. He worked our boys hard as well, bringing back memories of running around field 7 with Joe telling us he’ll thank us in the 65th minute when our cardio is still high and our opponents are gassed. He wasn’t wrong, 2012 was a great year for GHS rugby, undefeated might I add.
Joe Kelly challenges you to do your very best no matter what. He wants you to dig deep allowing you to reach your potential and more. From exclaiming “there is no walking in sevens (rugby)” to before the end of
practice asking one player to teach the other players and coaches a certain skill they know, that everyone else might not know or allow for a coach Q and A. The way Joe Kelly intertwines the sport of Rugby and life lessons is exceptional. Joe Kelly cares for his players and everyone around him.
Coaching with Joe, learning from Joe, and seeing Joe in action proves to me that he is the correct choice for the 150th district. Joe will fight for his constituents and will listen to them. He is very approachable which is key from an elected official. Joe’s ability to assess a situation, develop a plan, and execute it, is what is needed in Hartford. Electing Joe will bolster not only our town but our state. Connecticut has been in a steady decline; ask yourself is being in a declining state what you want? I know Joe Kelly will help you, me, and Connecticut every chance he can get. I urge voters to look at Joe’s policies. He already has an outstanding record of public service for our town, lets share Joe’s ideas with Hartford, in turn, Connecticut. I endorse Joe Kelly for the 150th District. Vote Joe Kelly!
Editor’s note: Letters to the Editor in support of local candidates in the Nov 3, 2020 election may be submitted to [email protected] for consideration beginning July 15 and with a hard deadline of Oct 26, 2020 at noon.