7 years ago today Sean Lugano passed away. Sean and I knew each other because of our time on the Loyola College Rugby team. Sean was our All American, Captain stud on the team – and well, I wasn’t. I was horrible at Rugby, but I loved it. I loved the camaraderie. I loved the drink-ups after the games, I loved the Rugby songs (I can still sing 90% of them), and I can’t remember what I had for breakfast, and I loved the way it felt like a family. I longed for being on a team again in college after having played football and baseball in High School.
Sean was our leader. He was charismatic, athletic, and just a great guy. Now I know that this may sound like I’ve deified Sean in death, but I assure you if you ask ANYONE that knew Sean Lugano, they would tell you that this guy was the real deal. I chose to write about Sean today because it’s the anniversary of his passing. I remember being told that he was “missing” and instantly starting to well up and cry. By midday Sept 12Th you knew that “missing” really meant. Anyone that was in NY that day (myself included) can remember the feeling of helplessness, and anger after seeing our city brought to its knees. I remember going to a memorial service at Xavier High School in the days after September 11Th, and I recall how packed the church was. Then I remember hearing the names of the “missing” that had attended Xavier. They were fathers, brothers, sisters, mothers….it was horrifying.
I don’t want to comment on my position about Sept 11Th memorials, or lack thereof. Instead I want to remember Sean Lugano. He was a great guy that I once knew. I still tell a story about what type of guy he was – a guy that loved life – and it’s summed up in the following:
We were playing Catholic University – I suppose this is going back to about 1995? After the game we had the traditional “drink up”. I don’t recall the name of the Catholic University captain, but I do remember that both teams after having fought it out on the pitch were really good friends afterward. We were all fired up to start drinking, but before we did (now I’m not certain exactly how this unfolded – like I said I can barely remember what I had for breakfast), but I do know that the Catholic captain had to pass Sean a boot so he could “shoot the boot”.. (for those of you that don’t understand Rugby vernacular), he had to chug beer from a shoe. But before he handed the boot to Sean – he hawked up the biggest nastiest flem ball ever and of course, spit it into the boot. The two teams roared with laughter. I didn’t think the crowd could get much rowdier until after taking said boot from the Catholic Captain, Sean proceeded to hawk up his own flem ball – spit into the same boot, and before anyone could react – he chugged it down – THE BAR WENT ABSOLUTELY INSANE…………THAT – is how I choose to remember Sean Lugano.
God bless you Sean – God Bless the Lugano family.
Finally – to honor Sean’s life, and the lives of those that were killed on Sept 11Th, 2001 – tell your loved ones just how much you love them today. Hug your child just a little tighter. Smile at that stranger. Trust me, it won’t kill you.