Athlete of the Week: Finbar O’Brien

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Alec Willard-Herr

“We’ve been doing really well,” sophomore Finbar O’Brien said. “Everyone’s been focused and wanting to do our best, especially since last year was canceled.”

Ryan Cechini, Staff Reporter

Three-sport athlete Finbar O’Brien has grown up playing a variety of sports, thanks to his dad’s insistence on playing outdoors starting at an early age. “Playing [outside] with my brother and always… wanting to compete just kind of brought the best of me,” he said.

Now, O’Brien, a sophomore, plays on La Salle’s varsity baseball and soccer teams and plays both JV and varsity basketball. He hopes to be a full time member of the varsity basketball team during the upcoming season. Despite not preferring one sport over the other, “I’m best at baseball,” he said. 

O’Brien has been playing organized baseball for about 11 years, but has played for fun “ever since I could walk or pick up a bat,” he said. “It was super fun. I could just go out and throw a ball with my brothers.” 

O’Brien played in La Salle’s baseball summer league the summer before eighth grade, where he “was on the Futures team,” he said.

The team consisted of kids entering eighth grade, ninth grade, and even some high schoolers. It was “a good intro into the program,” O’Brien said. He then played on the Futures team the following year before coming to La Salle and intended to play again last summer, until the season was canceled due to COVID-19.

Now a fully-fledged varsity player, O’Brien spends about two and a half hours a day, six days a week, practicing and playing games with his team.

In the off-season, “I don’t practice too much,” O’Brien said. “I have a hitting cage in our backyard so I sometimes go out there and do some hitting with my brothers… but we don’t really do anything organized, unless it’s summer ball.”

The biggest way O’Brien stays practiced outside of a team setting has been playing with his brothers. O’Brien has two brothers; one is a junior at La Salle, and the other is in seventh grade. “We all kind of push each other and we always try and help each other [to] get better,” O’Brien said. “And it’s always just fun and easy to just go outside and do something with them.”

O’Brien’s goal going into the baseball season was “to win league,” he said. So far, “we [have] had a pretty tough schedule,” he said. “We’ve been playing the top teams in our league, so it’s been tough but we’ve been just kind of going out there and playing.” 

“We’ve been doing really well,” he said. “Everyone’s been focused and wanting to do our best, especially since last year was canceled.” Thankful for the seniors on the team, O’Brien said, “they’re definitely good leaders and they help everyone out.”

As a dedicated student-athlete, O’Brien has had to learn how to manage his schoolwork on top of athletics. “I just try to get all my homework done before practice,” he said. 

He advises others to plan out their assignments and to “find any time that you have [to get work done], even if you’re not really feeling it,” he said. “It’s better to just get the work done now, so you don’t have a bunch of stuff piled up on the weekends or that you’re stressed about. It’s always just better to get stuff done early.”

Looking to the future and college, O’Brien hopes to “get either an academic scholarship or a sports scholarship, specifically for baseball,” he said. If presented with the opportunity, O’Brien would consider playing more than one sport at the collegiate level, but he recognizes that “college is definitely a way bigger step than high school,” he said. He hasn’t thought much about what he will study but likes science and math, and will consider courses of study in those fields.

One piece of advice he would give to younger students and athletes is to “be confident in yourself,” he said. He speaks from experience, as “confidence is always a big boost for me,” he said. “If you have confidence in yourself… you’ll help the team and do your job.”