Team helps Stepinac coach pop the question in White Plains
By CHRISTOPHER HUNT
THE JOURNAL NEWS
(Original publication: September 30, 2007)
WHITE PLAINS - As soon as he reached into his pocket, he started to lose it. Emotions crammed together and welled up in his eyes. But a tear never left and his smile remained.
She said yes.
Patsy Manganelli, the head junior varsity football coach, at Stepinac High School, brought the two things he loves the most closer to him yesterday: football and his girlfriend. Well, fiancee now.
Manganelli enlisted his team members' help yesterday after their game, a 26-10 loss to White Plains. Normally, they would meet by a statue just to the right of the back of the school. Manganelli's fiancee, Chrissy Syron, would make brownies for the team after home games, and they'd come off the field and up to the school to get them.
This time though, instead of looking for snacks, they surrounded Syron and Manganelli while she looked around confused.
"She had no idea," he said.
Both of their families were there with their friends. They were holding cameras and the one bit of information about the day that Syron didn't know.
Manganelli first looked around at his team and asked what they were doing, trying to appear as unaware as she was. Then he reached into the left pocket of his tan cargo shorts. She nervously put her hands to her mouth. Manganelli asked the question.
He nodded in confirmation and the helmets went up in a chorus of "Patsy, Patsy, Patsy."
Manganelli and Syron met four years ago at a party on the Jersey shore. They started dating, and she's been to every home game since.
"I wanted to do something different," said Manganelli, who is also a health and physical education teacher at Stepinac. "I love football and I love these kids, and I wanted to make them a part of this."
He told the team Thursday, and they practiced the routine like any formation for an actual game. It had to be flawless.
"He was pretty serious," said sophomore linebacker Chris Marasco. "We would try to fool around but, no, he was really serious about it."
The captains started the circle, and everyone else filled in. Even if the team didn't know Syron well, they knew she was always around and was a supporter of Manganelli and the team.
"This was awesome because he's always so emotional," sophomore quarterback Thomas Decker said. "It was just an awesome feeling to see him do that."
Syron couldn't talk much afterward. She said she was still in a fog. She giggled a lot. She couldn't stop her hands from shaking whenever she showed off the shiny diamond on her pinky finger - he has to get it resized.
"This was so him," she said. "This is so us."