Current Sports Editor Brandon Pride sat down with one of his predecessors, Danny Chiarodit, and asked him 15 questions about his time at The Daily Pennsylvanian, his experience at Penn, and life overall. Here's what the senior had to say.
1. Introduce yourself.
I'm Danny Chiarodit. I'm from Los Angeles, I'm majoring in psychology, and I'm a senior. I was a sports editor for one year, and I've also been a reporter and an associate.
2. How did you decide to join the DP's Only Section That Matters?
It's a funny story, because when we were freshmen in the Quad, my roommate at the time, Sam Mitchell — this is early on first semester — was leaving for a meeting. And at the time, I didn't really have much going on, I didn't join that many clubs. And he was like, 'Hey, I'm going to this sports writing meeting for the DP'. And I was like, 'I don't even know what the DP is.' And he's like, 'It's the school newspaper.' So I just decided to join him and just check it out because I played sports in high school. I knew I wasn't going to be playing sports here, but I thought it could be a fun way to get involved with Penn sports, so I just went to the meeting.
The first meeting was good, but I actually wasn't even sure that I was going to come back. And then the next week, I was like 50-50 on even going. I actually remember this really vividly, I remember 10 minutes until I had to leave the meeting, I was like, 'Oh, I'm not gonna go, I'm just gonna find something else to do with my time.' And then for some reason, I don't even know what made me change my mind in those 10 minutes, but I decided to go. And that second meeting was kind of like, 'Yeah, I really feel like there's a real community here.' That's when we started to talk more about actually writing stories, and then from there I wrote my first story, and before that actually I shadowed Carter Thompson, who is a great guy, and that was awesome. He was writing a field hockey story. So from there, I just stayed in the department, and I guess the rest is history.
3. What's your favorite memory from the department?
I actually have to still say that football game my freshman year, when we went to Columbia. It's hard to have one favorite memory, but that really does stand out. Because I was a freshman, it was the first time that I had done any sort of social event with any of the others as opposed to DPOSTMites. And that was really fun game.
I'm not sure if we can talk about what exactly happened there. But essentially, Tom Nowlan, who was a senior at the time, got really drunk. He was also smoking cigarettes, and he accidentally used my legs as an ashtray on multiple occasions. From that point, I really felt part of the DP and that I was fully initiated. So that was my favorite memory, even though we lost the game.
4. What's your favorite story you've written here?
So, it was before the Eagles-Pats Super Bowl, and it was the story where I just talked to a few different Pats fans on campus. I talked to a couple professors, one of which was Jamie-Lee Josselyn, and I actually ended up being a teaching assistant for her class after I took it, so we actually stayed in touch. Partly because of that story, that's how I met her, and she's a huge Pats fan. And it was just great because I wrote that story about all these diehard Pats fans and then they obviously lost. We should have done a follow-up, but that's okay.
5. What is your favorite memory as a baseball player?
My sophomore year we won the CIF championship, which is pretty much like our sectional championship. That was really cool because that was an actual Cinderella run. There were 32 teams, and I think we were ranked like No. 18 or something. We just ran the table and won the whole thing. That was really fun because we got to play for the championship game in a college stadium, and that doesn't sound like it's that big of a deal, but we were a really small school, and it was the first time that our school had ever won a baseball championship. So that was a great memory.
6. If you were still a baseball player, what would your walk-up song be?
I would have to say "X Gon' Give It To Ya" by DMX.
7. What is your favorite memory as a football player?
During my senior year for football, we played our rival, and we came back and won that game. That was really fun because I played running back, and I played well that game. They were up by 17 in the third quarter, and we came all the way back. That was just like one of the most fun experiences for me as an athlete because it was in front of our home crowd. No one at the school usually cared about football, but for that one game — because it was against a rival — everyone did. And we actually pulled it off. So that was really fun.
8. What is something in Philadelphia that every Penn student should do before they graduate?
The first thing that comes to mind is is the Morris Arboretum because I had never been to an arboretum before my time here. It's free for Penn students, and especially in the spring and the early fall, it's so beautiful.
9. If USC played Penn football, who would you root for?
Well, it would never happen. But just for the sake of the questions, I would prefer Penn. But I would also partly be rooting for USC to win by 100 points.
10. What's the most underrated restaurant on or around campus?
I'll say Loco Pez. Not that it's underrated, just like people don't know what it is. It's on 47th and Baltimore. So it's not on campus, but living on Baltimore, I've gone there a few times and they have good tacos and margaritas.
11. Who is your favorite athlete of all time?
I feel like Kobe is just such a cop-out answer, but it does have to be Kobe because he represented L.A. sports for me as a kid. My life just aligned with him. He got to L.A. a few years before I was born, and then [was] a Laker up until 2016. And it's funny because his last game — the game where he scored 60 — actually [was] the day before my birthday. So it always stands out as an even bigger moment for me.
12. What was your biggest positive takeaway from the pandemic?
I think my mom and I got closer, particularly last summer — or when I got back home in March — because it was like a somewhat difficult time for her with her health. And obviously, with the pandemic, that was hard for everyone. So she and I got really close because I was at home more than I had ever been these last four years. She and I were already so close, but we kind of established an even deeper bond and love. That was the result of her working through her health stuff, and then also just us trying to get through the pandemic together.
13. You did a half of a semester in Australia. What was the best part of that?
It wasn't even half a semester, which is the hilarious thing. I was there for like a total of six weeks. But I think the best thing about that was just how casual everything was. I really felt that it was different from Penn in that I was actually able to enjoy Melbourne and Australia without having to think too much about other obligations like school. And the timing of it for me was really nice — of course it was before the pandemic — because I was in my second semester as a junior and I was feeling kind of burnt out, and it was just a nice little getaway for me. I was really able to make new friends and also challenged myself in a new environment. But I think my favorite thing about it was just the ability to completely unwind and not have to think about the constant stressors of school life.
14. How do you want to be remembered within DPOSTM?
PIG champion. No, no. I want to be remembered as someone who people wanted to be around. And someone who made people feel positive [and] feel good while they were in the office. And I hope that I contributed to creating a fun environment in the office, and a space where people could come and relax and hang out and not have to think about school or anything else going on in their lives.
15. What are your plans for after graduation?
So right after graduation, I'm going on a road trip with my mom all the way back to L.A. Then later, Landau, Will, and we are going on a Vegas/Yosemite/Bay Area/Pacific Northwest trip. And then after that, what I'm doing right now and what I'll be doing partly through the end of the summer is working for the National Stuttering Association on their marketing team. My role in that is just spreading the word about speech impediments and giving people an understanding of what stuttering is, because it's kind of a misunderstood thing. A lot of people who stutter don't know that they can find help or find a community with other people who stutter, so that's what I'm going to be doing in the summer.
In the long term, I'm going to be applying to graduate school in psychology.
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