Always Sonny at ’Stoga: DiMartini inspires athletes
By K.C. McConnell, Staff Reporter
Standing on Teamer Field under the bright white lights, freshman Sonny DiMartini is a constant presence on the sidelines. Growing up with Down syndrome, DiMartini has spent his lifetime supporting Conestoga’s sports teams.
His mother, Pam DiMartini, can still remember the first Conestoga football game he attended.
“At that point in Sonny’s life, he was quite the mover and the shaker,” Pam DiMartini said. “He was never still, but when we went to the football games he would sit for three hours. The first time he saw a football player, he was amazed. He just liked it so much.”
While younger students found it difficult to relate to him, the football players he met on the sidelines became his first friends.
It was Sonny’s relationship with these players that encouraged him to become more and more involved with ’Stoga sports. Even when he was younger, he knew that he wanted to cheer on his team.
Head football coach John Vogan remembers the first time he met Sonny during practice.
“We would see him while we were practicing, and the football players eventually started to take him into the program,” Vogan said. “He had the biggest smile and was very supportive of our team. Sonny and the football team were the perfect match.”
Watching Sonny grow and mature was something that inspired several ’Stoga athletes. Junior Jamey Capolupo, a former football player, is still amazed by Sonny’s determination.
“Sonny never gives up if he wants something—he doesn’t care how hard it is to get,” Capolupo said. “He’ll go for it.”
Soon enough, Sonny joined the football team in order to support the players on the sidelines. As an important part of the team, he continues to inspire ’Stoga students, both on and off the field.
“I’ve watched Sonny grow so much this year,” Capolupo said. “He tells me that if he can accomplish anything, then think how much we can accomplish.”
Sonny’s brother, senior Alex DiMartini, said that he noticed a change in Sonny’s behavior as the years went by and he became more involved with the team.
“It’s gotten him to develop the loving personality that he has today,” Alex DiMartini said. “It’s the reason he’s as outgoing as he is.”
Over the years, fans have grown accustomed to Sonny’s cheerful spirit and are always excited to share in his enthusiasm at each game.
Sonny, too, has a special way of stepping up to the plate for the athletes he supports. As the football players hang up their uniforms, he turns his attention to the baseball dugout.
“Sonny will come sit with us in the dugout,” Vogan said. “And when the game’s over, win or lose, Sonny will run the bases. He’ll run down to home plate and give us all high fives and knock us over.”
At the end of each game, Sonny’s positivity and optimism are two things that all players take with them.
“I hope he has fun, and I hope it’s something he always remembers,” Vogan said. “I hope he knows how much of a contribution he’s made to us.”
K.C. McConnell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Printed originally on p. 3 of The Spoke’s March 25, 2010 issue.