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
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.
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.
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
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.
(photo courtesy of FSU Media Relations Office)