Five years later, ‘staring kid’ reflects on College World Series moment that went viral
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Five years later, ‘staring kid’ reflects on College World Series moment that went viral

Coastal Carolina’s Cinderella run at the 2016 College World Series was a memorable moment in the tournament’s long history.But the star of that tournament wasn’t a player or coach, but rather a fan in the front row, whose stare down with an ESPN camera turned into a viral sensation.Five years later, that famously familiar face looks a bit different.”I’ll open my phone and I’ll see my face and, well, there I am,” said Sammy DiDonato, or as he became known, the “staring kid.”DiDonato was just 10 years old during that TCU-Coastal Carolina game back in June 2016.Fast-forward to 2021, and Sammy is now a 15-year-old high school student.He just finished his freshman year at Creighton Prep in Omaha, Nebraska, where he plays baseball and football.But just because he’s older, doesn’t mean his five minutes of fame have faded at all in the five years since.”I mean it was like all in the moment of me messing around and being distracted just looking at the camera,” he added. “Then five years later I’m getting people I’ve never met before just noticing me like that already know who I am.”Even in 2021, video of the DiDonato Stare Down is watched by millions of people. Major sports social media accounts will also re-share that famous video around this time of year.”It’s still out there so it still seems like it’s now because you can just, people still will say, oh, I just saw Sammy,” said Trish DiDonato, Sammy’s mother. “There’s a meme of him doing this. That’s why it still seems so real to me.”From a memory to a meme and everywhere in between, Sammy’s shenanigans won’t be forgotten any time soon.”It will definitely be something that will live with him forever, if somebody else doesn’t top it,” added Trish.It’ll be tough to top that legendary look — especially when that same gaze remains just as grandiose as it did five years ago. Watch the video above to learn more about this story.

Coastal Carolina’s Cinderella run at the 2016 College World Series was a memorable moment in the tournament’s long history.

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But the star of that tournament wasn’t a player or coach, but rather a fan in the front row, whose stare down with an ESPN camera turned into a viral sensation.

Five years later, that famously familiar face looks a bit different.

“I’ll open my phone and I’ll see my face and, well, there I am,” said Sammy DiDonato, or as he became known, the “staring kid.”

DiDonato was just 10 years old during that TCU-Coastal Carolina game back in June 2016.

Fast-forward to 2021, and Sammy is now a 15-year-old high school student.

He just finished his freshman year at Creighton Prep in Omaha, Nebraska, where he plays baseball and football.

But just because he’s older, doesn’t mean his five minutes of fame have faded at all in the five years since.

“I mean it was like all in the moment of me messing around and being distracted just looking at the camera,” he added. “Then five years later I’m getting people I’ve never met before just noticing me like that already know who I am.”

Even in 2021, video of the DiDonato Stare Down is watched by millions of people. Major sports social media accounts will also re-share that famous video around this time of year.

“It’s still out there so it still seems like it’s now because you can just, people still will say, oh, I just saw Sammy,” said Trish DiDonato, Sammy’s mother. “There’s a meme of him doing this. That’s why it still seems so real to me.”

From a memory to a meme and everywhere in between, Sammy’s shenanigans won’t be forgotten any time soon.

“It will definitely be something that will live with him forever, if somebody else doesn’t top it,” added Trish.

It’ll be tough to top that legendary look — especially when that same gaze remains just as grandiose as it did five years ago.

Watch the video above to learn more about this story.

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