Ruairi O'Connor is a senior outfielder at Florida State University. A native of River Forest, Ill., O'Connor is a team captain this season for the Seminoles. He appeared in 33 games a season ago with seven starts. O'Connor batted .300 with three doubles, two homers, 19 runs and eight RBI. He batted .296 in 2007 after missing all but two games in 2006 following surgery for a fractured wrist. Both of his parents attended Florida State. O'Connor has made ACC Academic Honor Roll each of the past two years. O'Connor is majoring in literature.



March 11, 2009

Early Season Adversity


Before this week began, I was looking forward to writing about our adventures in Auburn, Alabama. On March 1, the day after our first loss of the season, Mother Nature decided to whitewash our series finale with the Tigers by dumping three inches of snow across the Southeast. Many of my teammates interpreted their first encounter with snow to be a good omen for the week to come; in retrospect, it was anything but. The events of the week that followed rewrote the record books at Florida State for all the wrong reasons.


We lost four games, including the first-ever defeat at the hands of both North Florida and Boston College. Losing five out of our last six games, it was clear that we needed to evaluate our mindset as a team.


The locker room was filled with 31 of my dejected teammates. With lowered heads and sunken hearts, the procession of my teammates’ pent-up frustrations permeated the air. As we poured out disappointment with our performance, I saw the young men who started our locker room meeting slouching were now standing tall. I stolidly sat and listened and grew proud to see our team acquiring the mindset needed to succeed.  Leadership is a quality that often takes shape under the pressures of adversity, and in that locker room I witnessed a great metamorphosis.


After opening up the season with 23 consecutive wins in 2007 and not tallying five losses until our 40th game in 2008, it has been hard to come to terms with the reality of a 7-5 start. I am optimistic with the new outlook our team has adopted. I am not saying that our rocky start is a good thing, but our inauspicious start has resulted in the steeling of our collective determination that we as a team can overcome all odds.


Clichés aside, being a Seminole baseball player demands excellence. This expectation can be found in the nature of the C-WAC, the EOD, the Loony Goons and the Back Row Assassins. These are the names of the different crews within the Seminole baseball team. Although some may think cliques connote something negative, I assure you that these smaller groups are in the spirit of fun revolving around the bonds of friendship. Each clique denotes the different styles or “swag” in which we each uniquely carry ourselves.  No matter with which group we align ourselves, we are all in sync in that we are in this together.


What gets lost in translation from game to game and box score to box score are the waves and ripples of emotions that are attached to every home run and strikeout. The only people that will have our backs regardless of the outcome on the field are the 32 guys who put the jersey on. This is our mindset as we accepted it together in the locker room.  It will also be the approach we will take together in every game throughout the season.  We share a common belief that in order to succeed and achieve our goals as a team, we must live, work and play together regardless of the outcome.


Ruairi O'Connor

(photo courtesy of FSU Media Relations Office)