HSBN Scholarship Essay Entry: Stefano Libio
Stefano Libio, #7, from Taravella, is an infielder that graduates with the class of 2020. Stefano was hitting .308 when his Trojans season was cut short. He gave us some insight into what the past few months have meant to him.
What does it mean to not be at school to me?
Well, there are many reasons to be upset. The obvious is being with friends at class, lunch and hallways. But what really bothers me the most is not being on the field with my team.
Since I was four, I played the game of baseball. I grew up on a field. My two older brothers, (both Taravella Grads) played four years of baseball at JP Taravella. Both of them were captains and loved the game as do I.
Although, I have only been on the Trojans team for four years, I have really been here for twelve years, as I was at every single game cheering on my brothers. I walked on the field with both of them with my mom and dad for their senior night games. I saw the excitement of that game and couldn’t wait for me to be the one that got that attention of being the player my family was walking out for.
Senior All Star games, district playoffs and the Spring Break tournament have all been taken away from my team. We were 5-4 when our season was taken away. We were on a two game winning streak and playing very good baseball.
We were very grateful though, as our coach, Joe Giummule, after many phone calls, got his guys one more game. Knowing it might be our last time on a field together, we played our hearts out. We came out with a 12-0 win and celebrated with our usual post-win meal at Miller’s Ale House.
Our goal this year was to win a district title, put another banner up in the gym. We didn’t even get the chance to do that, and that hurts.
It’s not the end of baseball for me though, as I will be playing college baseball at Dominican College in New York, which I am extremely looking forward to. I look forward to my new team being as close as the Trojans team was. The bus rides for away games, cheering loud from the dugout while winning or losing, looking at Coach Joe for signs when you are up to bat and high-fiving every time a run gets scored.
There are so many little things that make the game of baseball so special. There is not one specific thing you can put your finger on and say “That is what makes baseball so special.”
This virus will eventually pass. Maybe not this baseball season or even summer, but it will pass. I extremely look forward to being back in uniform stretching, throwing and taking I/O. It’s amazing how a virus can do so much to a school, city, state, country and world!
I try to not pay attention to it on TV, but it is hard not to hear about. Both my parents are still working like normal so I have been home doing online schooling and working out. Although it is hard to find places to hit or workout, I still do as much as I can to keep grinding.
For example, I work out in my home, hit at my cousins’ house, and condition by running up and down hills at a local park. Definitely not what I imagined my senior year being like, with no Grad Bash, prom and possibly graduation.
I feel for all the seniors going through this tragedy as the best memories from senior year are being taken away. But seniors aren’t the only ones going through this. Others are going through this as well and it is just unreal.
There is a pandemic going on and I pray it comes to an end soon. It is just terrible to see people dying and being put in hospitals. It honestly just doesn’t sound real. It feels like I am in a constant nightmare. I just want everything to be back to normal. No mask to go to Publix for a chicken tender sub, gloves to pump gas. Normal is all I am praying for.
To my coaches, and there are many, I started at JP Taravella on a 7th and 8th grade feeder team with Coach Tommy Collaro and Coach Alan Clark who were there for my freshman and sophomore years as well as my summer travel team. Coach Joe Giummule has been my coach for my junior and senior years.
All three coaches had a different style of coaching. All three were incredible at what they do. A game that they love as much as their players do. The only reason they would do what they do. Not only did they teach kids the game of baseball, but they taught it the right way.
There is a difference. For example, cheering in the dugout has a limit. They taught us to cheer for your own team, not bring down the opponent.
To Coach Juan, Pat, Guzman, Mike, Claude, Somers, Chuck and Mora, all of you were there for every practice and game for our team. To my dad who has been my coach since I was four, my biggest fan, I can’t thank you enough and explain how much I appreciate what you do for our team!
To my team, we are more than teammates, we are brothers. We spend more time together than we do with our own family. Baseball brought me close to people and made me the man I am today. We always have each other’s back.
Whether it is cheering for a batter up at the plate or not telling the coach who finished the sunflower seed bag, memories will be cherished by everyone. These memories are stories I will tell my kids one day. I see how close my older brothers were with their teammates after graduation, and I plan on being the same way with my Trojan family.
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