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.