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Ideas for this football story

Discussion in 'Writers' Workshop' started by Corky Ramirez up on 94th St., Sep 1, 2010.

  1. Need some ideas on how to approach this story ...

    Four members of the same high school football team have the same great-great-grandfather, who emigrated from Italy in 1910 (interestingly, from the same town in which my grandfather was born). Two are senior captains, one's a junior and one's a sophomore.

    What's a good way to approach this story? I'm trying to think of other ways to present this instead of just a, "hey! four players have the same great-great-grandfather. neat, huh?"

    Any suggestions, here or via PM, would be appreciated. Thanks!
  2. ringer

    ringer Member

    I think you'll find the answer when you do a little more research.

    Start by doing some preliminary interviews with a few of the guys and ask them if or why the relationship is significant.

    You could also research their great-great grandfather to see whether he would merit the bulk of the story.

    I think it could be a really great story, or there could be no story. It really depends on what you learn when you do a little more research.

    Let us know what happens!
  3. hoosier122

    hoosier122 New Member

    I'd definitely ask why they started playing football and whether they knew their third-cousins played when they started. If you can tie the reasons they started to a trait their great-great grandfather had, it could be your lead.

    Obviously ask their coach what character similarities he sees between the four players.
  4. AKap

    AKap New Member

    Maybe this is obvious, maybe not (I'm new to sports journalism)... but similar to hoosier's input, I would say to find out if they planned on playing on the same team, or if they just happened to find out after becoming teammates that they were all related. That could bring up some good starter ideas for the story. Maybe that could even start a side-story about demographic and local society if your research turns up any interesting information and you have time/room/interest for the excess.
  5. Thanks for the ideas. As it turned out, the great-great grandfather had similar traits to the four cousins.

    Here's the story, in case you care.

    It has been exactly 100 years since a young man emigrated from Italy to Norwich in search of a better life.
    In the spring of 1910, Giuseppe Paparelli arrived here and worked hard to bring the rest of his family to America. Their reunion came three years following his arrival.
    There’s another reunion going on today, but this time on the football field. It has produced something unique at Norwich Free Academy.
    Nick Cipriano, Anthony Facchini, Drew Brigner and Joey Paparelli — the great-great grandchildren of Giuseppe — all suit up for the Wildcats’ varsity football team.
    La famiglia e’ forte — The family is strong — certainly applies here, in more ways than one.
    “I didn’t come in as a stranger,” said Joey Paparelli, the youngest of the quartet. “I had people I knew and I felt comfortable around.”
    They probably won’t think about it during the game — if at all. But the foursome can thank a strong foundation from a century ago to get them where they are today.
    Work is never done
    Terlizzi is a township in southern Italy — roughly on the ankle of the boot-shaped country. Its size and population is a little less than Norwich.
    Giuseppe Paparelli emigrated here in his early 30s. Interestingly, many Italian families in Norwich — Fatone, Formiglio, Tamborra, Girasoli, Vasington and Amedeo, among others —came from the small township.
    Like most immigrants, Giuseppe came in search of the riches that America supposedly had. But the old Italian proverb rang true: “When the Italians got to America, they learned three things — that the streets were not paved with gold; that the streets were not paved at all; and that they were expected to pave them.”
    He was a hard worker, taking up masonry. He helped build the wall around the park that is in between Franklin Street and Boswell Avenue and across from D’Elia’s Bakery in Norwich, as well as a wall across from the intersection of Routes 82 and 163 in Bozrah.
    Frank Paparelli never knew his grandfather, but heard he was a quiet man.
    “I understand he was very polite,” said Frank, who graduated from NFA in 1959 and is Joey’s grandfather. “Real nice, a real gentleman. A hard worker, but they had to be in those days. ... I know he really loved this country. He was so glad to be here.”
    When he finished his masonry for the day, Giuseppe and his brothers-in-law — Vito Signorino, Jacquino Cipriano and Patsy Tamborra — would tend to their vegetable gardens on a plot of land off Pratt Street.
    Giuseppe and his wife, Nunzia (DePalo), had five children. Fifteen years after emigrating, Giuseppe died in 1925 in his early 50s.
    Pass it on
    Every branch on the family tree earned Giuseppe’s hard work ethic — especially on the playing fields.
    Frank Paparelli played football all four years at NFA. His cousin, Frank Cipriano, Class of ’60, was an All-State nose tackle/fullback for NFA who fielded interest from the New York Giants.
    Frank Paparelli’s sister, Nancy, married Howard Brigner, and their son, David, also was a standout athlete at NFA — as was David’s cousin, Chris Cipriano.
    Facchini’s father, Larry, excelled at St. Bernard. He married Lucia Dellernia, Giuseppe’s great-granddaughter.
    Now, the four great-great grandchildren are writing their own history.
    Anthony Facchini holds a state record in weightlifting in the power clean. Nick Cipriano is an All-State wrestler who has aspirations of wrestling at Annapolis. Both are seniors.
    Junior Drew Brigner has been a solid performer on the football field during his time at NFA and sophomore Joey Paparelli started varsity as a freshman.
    “It’s like I have footsteps to follow and (to) learn behind them,” Nick Cipriano said. “It’s not a bad pressure, but it’s something I’ve always wanted to do and equal their playing standards.”
    Surprisingly, this connection wasn’t known at first.
    “Honestly, we didn’t even find out we were cousins until (Nick’s) dad found out that I was playing on the team,” Anthony Facchini said. “It was kind of a surprise.”
    Having the cousins be on the same field helps in more ways than one.
    “You don’t have to really worry about the guys,” Drew Brigner said. “You know they’re going to get the job done. They’re out there with the same mentality I have.”
    That mentality has been handed down for a century, and it won’t be ending anytime soon.
    La famiglia e’ forte.
  6. ringer

    ringer Member

    Nice job! Elegantly and gently told. That Italian proverb was classic, too.

    You're a pro, I can tell.
  7. Thanks, ringer. I took particular enjoyment from the fact that my grandfather is from that same town in Italy.

    Stories such as these really get my blood going.
  8. tagline

    tagline Member

    Am I missing something, or are these dates different?

  9. Steak Snabler

    Steak Snabler Well-Known Member

    HIS early 30s, not THE early 30s.
  10. tagline

    tagline Member

    Oops. My apologies.
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