Family Fun
Young boy locks eyes with camera then 10 million watch the hilarity that ensues
When the camera turned to this young boy in the audience, what followed was a hilarious scene that had the entire internet in stitches. 😂
D.G. Sciortino
10.24.22

STARING CONTEST!

Ready? Go!

A 10-year-old Sam DiDonato was determined to win a staredown between himself and ESPN cameras at the NCAA Baseball World Series.

He tried all the tactics in the book. He widened his eyes, subtly smirked, and even hit them with an eyebrow waggle.

We’re not sure if Sam won the contest, but he definitely won the internet’s heart.

YouTube Screenshot - 6 News WOWT
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - 6 News WOWT

Even five years after the staredown, people still recognized Sam, now a teen, as a viral superstar.

It all started when Sam was in the stands at TD Ameritrade Park for the TCU vs. Coastal Carolina game in 2016.

That’s when the camera locked on Sam. Once Sam realized he was on camera, he locked onto the camera and started the stare-down that eventually went viral.

Facebook Screenshot - ESPN
Source:
Facebook Screenshot - ESPN

ESPN announcers got a kick out of it. And were laughing over how dedicated Sam was to the starring contest.

His nostrils began to flare, his lip quivered, and he squinted his eyes sternly… but he didn’t give up.

Sam got bored with the starring showdown and decided to ham it up with some shoulder shimmies and eyebrow waggles.

Facebook Screenshot - ESPN
Source:
Facebook Screenshot - ESPN

Meanwhile, his mom had no idea what was going on. Eventually, she saw him acting silly and looked up to see that they were on camera.

That video ended up going viral.

But unlike most shortlived viral content, Sam went on to become the subject of countless memes. Making him a lasting internet icon known as “staring kid.”

Facebook Screenshot - ESPN
Source:
Facebook Screenshot - ESPN

“I mean it was like all in the moment of me messing around and being distracted just looking at the camera,” Sam told KETV.

“Then five years later I’m getting people I’ve never met before just noticing me like that already know who I am.”

Sam still hasn’t quite gotten used to being such a fixture on the internet.

His family and friends are constantly telling him that they just saw him in a meme doing such and such.

“It’s kind of crazy to just think that somebody that I’ve never met before knows who I am, but I have no clue who they are,” Sam told KSNB. “It’s just kind of weird because sometimes I’ll open my phone and then I’ll just see my face.”

Sam was even recognized while wearing a mask during the pandemic.

They could tell it was him by his unforgettable eyes.

Sam’s mom, Trish DiDonato, says her son’s internet fame is likely something that will follow him for the rest of his life.

YouTube Screenshot - 6 News WOWT
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - 6 News WOWT

Unless someone comes along and tops his video and becomes an ever-larger meme celebrity.

Sam ended up recreating his iconic video in a June 2021 interview with 6 News WOWT.

He was listed as having just finished his freshman year at Creighton Prep in June 2021, where he plays both baseball and football.

When asked if he ever thought of recreating the moment while playing in the CWS, he said that would be pretty “ironic.”

Watch the video that made Sam famous below.

Please SHARE this with your friends and family.

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By D.G. Sciortino
hi@sbly.com
D.G. is a contributing writer in Shareably. She's based in Connecticut and can be reached at hi@shareably.net.
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