Archive

ShareThis Page
Harrison Middle School student makes impact in Baldwin football program | TribLIVE.com
Other Local

Harrison Middle School student makes impact in Baldwin football program

Tribune-Review
| Wednesday, November 19, 2014 9:01 p.m
shrgiorgianni1112014
submitted photo
Dom Giorgianni

Despite his small frame, Dom Giorgianni became a big part of the Baldwin High School football program this season.

The Harrison Middle School eighth-grader quickly found a place as a dynamic team manager who fit in well with both players and coaches.

He spent numerous hours over the summer and early part of the season filming practices, setting up equipment on the field and distributing uniforms.

Unfortunately, a serious bicycle accident ended his season in late September, but Giorigianni already is looking forward to rejoining the Fighting Highlanders’ football program next year.

Giorgianni, 14, always has loved football. He would talk about football endlessly with his middle school computer teacher, Pete Wagner.

Wagner, Baldwin’s head football coach, soon realized the team manager position would be a perfect fit for Giorgianni.

“Dom would always ask me how the team was doing, and who we were facing the next week,” Wagner said. “He had leukemia at an earlier age, so he’s not allowed to have a really active lifestyle.”

According to Giorgianni, his mother, Gina, would not let him play football.

“It’s hard-hitting but so fun to watch,” Giorgianni said.

“Dom was diagnosed with leukemia when he was 4 years old,” Gina said. “He relapsed when he was 6. He’s been through a lot. The radiation stunted his growth. All the other kids were growing faster and bigger than him. He was never able to participate in sports like all the other kids.

“He never complains about anything. You would never know by talking to him how much he’s gone through.”

When Wagner called and offered the Baldwin football manager position to Giorgianni, his mother was thrilled.

“Finally, my little boy would be able to be part of a team,” Gina said. “I truly am so happy for him that he is finally out there doing something.”

The team manager role allows Giorgianni to get close to the sport he loves without actually playing the game.

“When I started, the team didn’t know me,” Giorgianni said. “But they didn’t bully me at all. They treated me like I was part of the team.”

Baldwin’s senior quarterback, Doug Altavilla, enjoyed having Giorgianni helping out during preseason training camp and at practices.

“He could always put a smile on your face. He was a good kid to have around,” Altavilla said. “He made up nicknames for a lot of the coaches and players. He added a lot to our practices.”

Wagner said Giorgianni’s outgoing personality was an added benefit in the coach’s room, as well.

“One of the coaches would crack a joke and he would come back with a really quick response,” Wagner said. “He really added a lot to the mix.”

Besides his good nature and quick wit, Giorgianni provided important services, including filming many of the practices for the coaches’ review.

“When you’re coaching and in the heat of practice, there’s only so much you can catch,” Wagner said. “We’ve been able to critique the film that Dom takes. He has been a great resource for us.”

Giorgianni worked diligently at perfecting his filming techniques to ensure he provided the coaches with the best product for their review.

“He would take it home and work on it at night,” Wagner said.

In September, while riding his bicycle near his house, Giorgianni fell and broke his femur in several places.

“I was going way too fast, and I flipped,” he said. “When I landed, my leg was in a weird position. They had to call an ambulance.”

Giorgianni underwent surgery and missed weeks of school. He was in a wheelchair for awhile, but since has graduated to crutches.

“The bike accident put a damper on things,” Gina said. “But the team was great. They sent a big basket to Dom when he was in the hospital.”

Despite this setback, Giorgianni is looking forward to reprising his role as team manager next season.

“Seeing how determined and focused he was to excel in his life was inspiring to me and the other members of the team,” Altavilla said.

Jennifer Goga is a freelance writer.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.