David Cianciolo: A real big sport
It is not hard to make the comparison between David Cianciolo and Clark Kent. A mild-mannered real estate broker by spring, summer, and fall, David is transformed into a superjock each winter.
One of the principal owners of Country Squire Real Estate, the man also wallows in the mud as a stalwart defenseman for the Mt. Washington Valley Hogs mud football team, skis every opportunity he gets, and defying most statistics, is currently the oldest player to strap on the skates in the North Conway no-check ice hockely league, having taken up ice skating at age 33.
What makes David run, or rather, play? "I figure my knees could give out at any moment," he said. "You have to do it while you can."
Winter just happens to be the only time David can do it. "Winter is traditionally the slow time for real estate. January is slow for all retails sales and definitely the slowest month for us," he explained. This business lull enables David to reduce his winter work week to a more reasonable four or five days rather than the hectic pace he maintains during the busier times. "In the winter, the job allows me more time to play."
And play he does. Though 40 years old this year. David has to be considered one of the biggest kids in the Valley. Mud football may be a fall classic rather than a winter event, but right from its outset, David longed to be a part of it.
"Mud football started at a very modified level with just a bunch of guys getting together and traveling to Vermont or Sugarloaf for a fun weekend," he recalled. "I could never make it then because of real estate commitments."
When the games moved to North Conway, David still tried to fit them into his busy fall schedule, but business duties prevented him. "One time I was all set to play but customers came in and I had to stay in the office," he said.
Eventually, however, David did manage to fit the activity into his schedule, and his business acumen meant that he need not only serve as a mere player for the Hogs. Over the years, his involvement has expanded to include many organizational aspects of the successful charitable event, including serving as secretary for the Hogs, arranging halftime activities, coordinating VIP appearances, organizing the Mud Bowl parade, and helping with all the planning necessary for Mud Bowl weekend.
"It has started to take up too much time during a busy period for me," said David, "but it is one of my most personally rewarding experiences. Where else could I get to play a great game with wacked-out grown-up men wallowing and a great silliness? And to top it off, it generated great sums of money that are then donated to worthy causes."
Since he played high school football, it is not so phenomenal that David would gravitate to a mutation of the sport in his later years. Ice hockey, however, is an entirely different matter. "I wished I had played when I was younger because it always looked like fun," he said. David didn't even try to skate until he was 33, but a Christmas gift forever changed his winters. "I got a pair of skates and that whole year I practiced skating," he said. "Just trying to stand up was more like it."
The following year, David made the big move and tried out for a team in the North Conway no-check league. "I had watched the games, and some guys looked like they couldn't skate that well," he explained. David made it and loved it. Country Squire Realty now sponsors a team in the no-check league as well as an all-star team that travels to Berlin, challenging tough teams in the Notre Dame Arena. "It's been an uphill battle," he said, "and I am far from proficient, but it's a great competitive sport and I love it."
Once again, David could not stay away from the administrative end. He volunteers his time as an officer in the Berlin hockey league and works on the organization of the Mt. Washington Valley no-check league. "I also keep a constant eye on the rink," said this parttime athlete whose office is conveniently located directly across the street from the Schouler Park ice rink.
Being the foul weather jock he is, David doesn't confine his activities to just these sports. His participating in alpine skiing is purely recreational, but he considers it his most enjoyable winter sport.
Racquetball is also one of David's passions although he admits to being very much an average player. Being true to form, David has turned that interest into a charitable event. Country Squire Real Estate (David's business partner Ed O'Halloran is a kindred spirit) sponsors an annual racquetball tournament at the Mountain Valley Court Club. This year, the proceeds went to the John Marsden Foundation and the Center of Hope.
In addition to mud football, hockey, skiing, and racquetball, David also lends his talents to the popular Spring Shampagne Stampede, the proceeds of which to to the Memorial Hospital. He also volunteers to help out with special events during the annual Winterfest celebration.
"You've just got to do it while you can," he repeated. And by giving practicality and maturity its due, David has ultimately benefitted the community. His strong Walter Mitty tendencies have been channeled into fun, but for very good causes.