Sometimes stories can help bring people together.
Back in the winter at the end of January and the beginning of February, The Triangle, Drexel’s student newspaper, published a three-part series I wrote about the history of Drexel’s football program and the future of the sport at the University (Parts I, II, III).
As part of the story, I got to meet a couple of former players, Steve Spagnolo and Barry Cole. While the team had been cut in the early 1970s, the two former players I interviewed had remained friends with some others, despite few formal football reunions.
When I began the process of interviewing and researching, Spagnolo reached out to some of the guys he is still in contact with, telling them about the coming story. It had been years since they had all seen each other in-person, so the idea of a reunion was floated.
Al Checcio, who played quarterback for the Dragons, now works for the University of Southern California, a university with a rich football history that is not going away any time soon. Checcio was one of the former teammates Spagnolo spoke to about the story. That’s when things began falling into place. Plans of a possible reunion started to come together.
This past weekend, Spagnolo and four other former Dragons held an informal Drexel football reunion hosted by Checcio at USC. There they attended the USC-Arizona State game, the one that ASU won on a Hail Mary as time expired. The group soaked in the experience of being at the Coliseum, watching high level college football and simply reminiscing about the good ol’ days in University City.
At the time when the story was published, I thought the best part would be the positive feedback from the Drexel community along with the experience of getting to learn about the athletics roots of the university I attend and work for.
But one text beat it all. The text was from Steve, saying thank you for helping make the experience happen.
The story ended up bringing people together, and there’s nothing more I could have asked for.