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.



April 8, 2009

Life After Baseball


For the first time since my sophomore year, I spent a whole spring weekend away from my teammates. Instead of competing along side my comrades, I watched my team from the confines of my family room almost 500 miles away. As my team played in the greatest rivalry in college baseball, I came to the realization that my college career is coming to an end and that in my future, I will be watching and not playing. It finally hit me that I was in the final weeks of my baseball career.


My absence from the game left me with an inexplicably eerie feeling. I watched the games uncomfortably as the realization that my days of taking the field as a Florida State Seminole were numbered, and as each day passes the responsibilities of becoming an adult seem to grow exponentially.


Cloaked in the pleasures of my final college season and final semester in school, the looming responsibilities and obligations of the real world grow and are encroaching as the focal point of my life. The pressures of achieving economic independence along with graduation and the rigors of ACC play have made the next few weeks seem insurmountable at times.


I am in no way trying to evoke a pity party. On the contrary, as a college athlete, it is easy to lose sight of the duties that most college students have. But I am a student as well, sharing the common concerns that every graduating college student has today: What will I do next? As a student-athlete, there are great advantages you must recognize. For example, in my four years as a student athlete, I have never once created my own schedule, nor have I ever had to get my own books or make a doctor’s appointment. Being a student-athlete requires an extraordinary amount of time, hard work, self-discipline and organization. However, without a strong support staff to help, there are times when the responsibilities of adulthood seem overwhelming and impossible to take on. 


I must now face a future without baseball. Until now, with my future awaiting to begin the day I graduate, there was no other profession I had seriously considered while I spent 30 hours a week at the baseball field, in the gym or otherwise training. 


I assure you I will make a good life for myself beyond baseball. For me, and I suspect other college athletes, the finality of a dream that has been cultivated for years is what makes entering the real world difficult. As the sun begins to set on my career as a Seminole, it is also setting on my dream of an athletic career. I am awakening to a world of independence, and with it comes new challenges that I welcome with the same excitement I have looked forward to every game at Dick Howser Stadium. I have every expectation to not only overcome whatever challenges I face, but to thrive and move on to the next challenge.


Ruairi O'Connor

(photo courtesy of FSU Media Relations Office)