Sean Taggart speaks at the 2020 Salesianum Sports Banquet

Sean Taggart speaks at the 2020 Salesianum Sports Banquet

Salesianum is a school that loves its traditions and history, but Thursday night's Salesianum Sports Banquet began with a nod to the past, and the present.

"Welcome to the 72nd Annual - first ever, and hopefully only - Virtual Sports Banquet."

That's how three-sport athlete Sean Taggart began his speech to an online crowd that reached close to 600 viewers at one point.

Taggart said being away from his classmates for the past two months hasn't broken the Class of 2020's spirit.

"During these difficult times, I feel closer to Sallies than I ever have. We are in a rare opportunity to really put this brotherhood and unity to the test, and it has passed as it has time and time again through other historical events."

Taggart was one of the Sals to miss out on a spring sport season, as his throwing campaign for outdoor track never made it past the first few days of preseason practice.

"To the spring season teams, I know this has been a tough journey ,the past couple of months. Even if you did not reach the goals you set out to achieve because of our current situation, you are--and will always be--a wearer of the 'S'."

The virtual ceremony turned into a cavalcade of recent Salesianum alums who have gone on to professional sports, including Minnesota Viking Brian O'Neill, Los Angeles Ram Troy Reeder, Milwaukee Buck Donte DiVincenzo, and soon to be Major League Lacrosse player Ryan Kern.

Their message was nearly universal: the relationships are bigger than any championships.

"We're sorry that you weren't able to finish things off the way you wanted to," Reeder said in his video. "It's not fair that you lost time with your friends and teammates, and some of you may have lost entire seasons, but just know what you've done and the memories you've made last more than just these couple months. It lasts a lifetime."

O'Neill added: "I'm rooting for you guys. I'm really bummed that you didn't get to have your spring season, but hopefully it will give you guys a reminder of all the great relationships you've been able to build over the years. Good luck, and go Sals."

As for DiVincenzo, he highlighted his bond with two-time basketball championship teammate Shane Clark, and welcomed his "brothers" into the Salesianum family in a rather virtual way.

"I know we've got some gamers out there, so if you guys ever want to run some War Zone or Call of Duty, hit me up on Twitter. I've got a mic, we can talk to each other, and anything you guys need just hit me up."

Taggart might have put it best though, saying the 142 varsity athletes of Salesianum's Class of 2020 won't be denied in the future.

"We will not let the lack of a senior season ruin what we have achieved, and the friendships, and achievements we have gained along the way."

The senior class will be bonded in one more way over the next two days.

The final steel beam that will be used to finish the frame of the Abessinio Stadium Grandstand has arrived, and the Class of 2020 will get to sign it over the next two days, etching in steel their legacy to Salesianum.