Peter Gambaccini is a National Magazine Award-winning writer for the Runner’s World website. A mundane part of his job is plowing through piles of press releases, seeking nuggets of news.
Scanning the USA Masters Indoor Championship results recently, a name caught his eye: Ralph Souppa. A star on Staples’ 1965 track team, one of Ralph’s teammates was current Wrecker coach/Connecticut running guru Laddie Lawrence. Ralph’s brother Paul was a senior captain when Peter (SHS ’68) was a junior. Now, Peter learned, Ralph was a World Masters champion.
Peter called Ralph, for the first time in 40 years. They caught up on life since the 1960s. Ralph ran track at Northeastern University. Today he’s a civil engineer in Cambridge, a Masters gold medal winner in the 60-64 age group — and part of a world-record 4×400 relay team.
How important is all that? Very, to Ralph and Peter. Moderately to not at all, to the rest of us.
Except when you realize how important someone like Ralph Souppa is to an impressionable 14-year-old. And then to the man he becomes, nearly 5 decades later.