On October 27, 2011, the University of Rhode Island baseball team lost a teammate and a brother, Joseph Paul Ciancola. I want to start by saying that, on behalf of the Rhody baseball team, our thoughts and prayers are with the entire Ciancola family.
Although under the most unfortunate of circumstances, I recently had the pleasure of meeting Joey’s family, and I now know where he got his smile, strength and love. Michele Ciancola, Joey’s mother, has been an incredible inspiration to all of us throughout this difficult time. Her strength is unmatched.
Talking with my teammates over the past week has made me realize just how special, and how much of a privilege it is to play college baseball. To be able to step on that field and play a game we all share a passion for, while building friendships that will last a lifetime off the field, has been the best experience of my life.
The Rhody baseball team is a family. Joey was a big part of that, and he will be forever. Each day Joe would walk into the locker room with a big smile on his face, no matter what the circumstance. He was the type of kid that just wanted to make other people happy, make them laugh and have a good time.
On the field, Joey was a competitor. He worked harder than anyone else. When Joe took the mound, he just had this presence about him – he was calm and confident and knew he would get the job done.
If I could put into words the amazing friend and teammate Joey was to all of us here at URI, the son he was to Joseph Jr. and Michele and the brother he was to his sister, Lindsay, this post would go on forever.
As a team, there are many ways we will celebrate Joe’s life and the impact he had on all of us – one of those being “Flow for Joe.” Joey had a head of hair that made all of us pretty jealous. In honor of him, we all will be growing our hair long for the season, just another way of remembering our teammate.
I really can’t express how much my teammates and I miss and love Joey. We know that he will always be with us, every step of the way. My teammate Dan Haverstick put it best when he said that we will be playing with 10 guys on the field this year.
This post is in memory of Joseph Paul Ciancola. 8.13.91 – 10.27.11.
We love and miss you Joey. Rest In Peace.
Until next time,
Mike Le Bel