The home court of St. Mary's High School of Lynn is named the "Tony Conigliaro Gymnasium."
Playing up to the standards set by the late great Tony C (St. Mary's Class of' '62) is a tall task. For the past few seasons one player has stood taller than the rest - literally and figuratively.
Tori Faieta (pronounced Fie-etta) is a junior on the St.Mary's girls basketball team. She stands about 6'1" and wears a constant smile. Tori is a co-captain, averages about 15 points per game and is closing in on 1,000 career points.She is an excellent student and has already drawn the attention of college scouts.Tori also happens to be hearing impaired.
When Tori was four years old, her hearing began to fade. She has lost about 90 percent of her hearing, She can't hear high pitch tones and she can't hear a referee's whistle. When she is off the court she wears hearing aids in both ears but she doesn't wear them during a game because they get all sweaty and the moisture causes them to fail.
When I spoke with Tori recently she put a microphone on me that transmitted my voice to a receiver in her ear and we had a nice conversation.
"The doctors told my mother not to let me play team sports," Tori explained. "But I convinced them that it was safe and that I love basketball so much it actually helps me."
Tori and her teammates have a system of hand signals in order to communicate, She's been on the varsity since the the 8th grade.
"It does have its advantages, when I'm at the foul line and the opposing crowd boos me and tries to distract me, I can't hear them," Tori laughs.
As to advice for any girl or boy with a hearing impairment?
"Follow your dreams, don't let anyone tell you you can't do something. Always reach for the highest level and just by trying, you win."