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.
May 25, 2009
No Rest for the Weary
It’s 3:00 a.m., and as boredom mounts, so does the weight of
every eyelid transfixed on the uniforms of 32 guys that have long been sound
asleep. The job at hand is to prepare the players’ uniforms for the upcoming
game hours later. This is the job of the student baseball managers, and it’s not
one of celebrated glory. It is merely one of endless duties that offer only
anonymity and appreciation from the program. Even so, this has never deterred
Florida State’s most selfless men from carrying the burden of the program on
their backs, doing the important invisible work behind the scenes.
Under the tutelage of the best equipment manager in the nation
Dane Smith, our student managers, Danny Scott, Josh Adkins, Mike Foreman, Matt
Shifrin, Dave Stark, Adam Neiberg, Drew Strouse, Brandon Roth and Alex Mookas
have evolved into an essential part of the Seminole program. For those of you
who are unfamiliar with the interworkings of a Division I baseball program, it
would be impossible to list all the tasks and necessary jobs they complete that
are so important to our great baseball program.
In order to grasp their importance to our overall success, the
role they play for the team is analogous to that of a garbage man for a
community. Equally essential and unappreciated, without them, how could our
society operate efficiently? Neither is a glamorous occupation, either. Our
managers are indispensable. They are led by Dane who orchestrates many events,
large and small, to ensure the smooth day-to-day operation of the Seminole
baseball team. They do their job well whether in preparation for a game or
practice, at home or on the road, in good weather and in bad.
Throughout the long season, there are times when arriving at the
ballpark at 2 o’clock for a 6 o’clock game and leaving whenever the game ends
can be grueling for a full-time student. It may seem even more so when the
players are lifting or receiving treatment after a game or practice, keeping the
managers at the field for hours. Despite the long hours we players put in at
Dick Howser Stadium, it pales in comparison to the time that each and every
student manager dedicates to the program throughout the year.
Working hard together to reach a common goal engenders mutual
appreciation from which friendships evolve into relationships that may last a
lifetime between players and managers. Danny Scott, a fine athlete in his own
right, has been there every step of my own personal five-year journey at FSU. I
will always remember Dane Smith working hard whenever I first arrived at Dick
Howser Stadium, and working harder as I get ready to leave six hours later.
Their dedication is true and it makes me proud to be a Seminole.
Despite the long hours, lack of pay and recognition, the managers
fulfill their commitment because they know that just like every one of the 32
players, the team could not reach its full potential without them. There has
never been a moment when I didn’t receive what I wanted, or more importantly,
what I needed. Although I have always tried to express gratitude for everything
that these men have done for me and the team, it doesn’t seem to suffice. This
article is my thank you to the managers, my expression of unending gratitude for
the selfless work that has graced this program during my time with you.
(photo courtesy of FSU Media Relations Office)