If one was ever in need of inspiration or finding a perfect example of someone overcoming odds to succeed in football and in life, one could not find a better example of this in Patrick Rosetti.
Rosetti, a recent Danbury High School graduate, has overcome obstacles and beaten the odds to perform admirably as a leader and a successful quarterback for the Hatters during the 2018 and ’19 seasons.
And for his courage and his success as a student-athlete he was named the recipient of the 2021 Michael H. Savage Spirit of Sport Award.
Despite the fact Rosetti and thousands of other high school football players statewide did not get to play this past 2020 season because of the COVID-19 pandemic, that did not take away from the fact that Rosetti was a most worthy recipient. He was the perfect choice for everything the award exemplifies.
Each year the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference bestows this award on one student-athlete who has demonstrated exemplary sportsmanship and/or citizenship in playing the game as it should be played, has exceeded normal expectations in assisting others within the school community, or has overcome adversity or a challenging circumstance.
Rosetti has a severe speech impediment, yet that has not deterred him from playing and playing very well at a position where vocal communication to teammates is most essential either in the team huddle or at the line of scrimmage.
“For many, this would be debilitating and perhaps derail a prospective sports and academic career,” Danbury head football coach Augie Tieri said. “This is especially difficult for someone who plays the position of quarterback, which requires more verbal articulation than most sports positions. Not Patrick. He has never used it as a crutch, nor has he let it stand in his way.”
Tieri and Rosetti both said Rosetti is receptive to interviews and publicity for inspirational purposes.
“My sole intention of doing interviews is to inspire people to hear my story and take something from it to apply to their own lives,” Rosetti said. “I want the quiet, introverted viewer to lead a conversation next time they’re out in public. I want the special needs viewer to try out for and play the sports they love with no fear because they know that they can do anything.
“I want the kid with a speech impediment aspiring to play quarterback to hear my story and pursue the position as I had done five years ago,” Rosetti continued. “Hearing this type of feedback to articles that are published about me is way more rewarding than any compliment someone can give me for doing them.”
Rosetti was formally recognized for this distinguished award during the annual scholar athlete awards ceremony which was conducted virtually this year in early May.
In addition to dealing with his speech impediment and inspiring so many, Rosetti also checked the scholar athlete box successfully by taking a challenging course load predominantly consisting of honors and AP courses and he achieved a 4.5 weighted GPA and a 1,330 on his SAT.
It is immeasurable just how much Rosetti brought to his teammates in the locker room and on field, and to the Danbury High School community with the combination of his spirit, attitude, giving back to others and his pleasant, fun-loving personality.
As far as Rosetti was concerned, all he was trying to do was be a contributing teammate who was accepted and respected.
“I could not have asked for a more accepting and compassionate group of guys than the ones I was fortunate enough to take the field with,” Rosetti said. “I realize that, because of my speech, I could very easily be subject to bullying. However, set aside a few small jokes or comments that were all out of love, I have never heard my speech be mentioned by my teammates. They have treated me as if I spoke just like everybody else, and I love them for that.”
Rosetti further pointed out how much of a positive influence coach Tieri had on him for having no qualms about having Rosetti as the signal-caller and guiding Rosetti through the process with a good bit of tough love along the way. Tieri, a History/Special Education teacher, was a quarterback himself.
“Coach Tieri has had a tremendous impact on me through my varsity football journey and in my development into becoming a young man,” Rosetti said. “I am very grateful to have as compassionate of a coach as I have had these past three years with Coach Tieri.”
Coach Tieri and Rosetti have bonded in football and in volunteering for the community. “Patrick was also a volunteer coach with our Unified Basketball program working with students with special needs, clearly showing his dedication to others and his community as a whole.”
Tieri is forever grateful for how much he’s been inspired by Rosetti and for how Rosetti was a vital contributor toward helping resurrect a program that had a 1-9 season the year before Tieri took over.
“Throughout his career, Patrick led us to game-winning drives in the final seconds of games, proving his reliability, leadership and calmness under pressure,” said Tieri.
Late in the final season that FCIAC football was played, on Nov. 9, 2019, Rosetti fired the game-winning touchdown pass in the waning seconds to lead the Hatters to a 37-33 comeback victory over Norwalk. That finished off a superb game in which he threw for three touchdown passes while completing 17-of-29 passes for 319 yards.
Rosetti, a 6-foot-3, 215-pounder with a strong arm, hopes to play football at Wesleyan and his career goal is to be a general surgeon.
Whatever shall be, Rosetti has already been such an inspiration and a success and it seems inevitable that much more success in life is in his future.
“Patrick has served as an inspiration for all that come in contact with him,” Tieri said. “He serves as a living example of how you can not only overcome the difficulties that come with such a severe speech impediment, but excel in every aspect of your life in spite of it.
“His story deserves national recognition to continue to spread awareness and serve as an inspiration to all that encounter this same disability. Having read stories about our president Joe Biden experiencing a similar journey to now becoming the leader of the free world is further reinforcement on how Patrick’s journey has no bounds or limits.”