From lacrosse to rugby to hockey, Keene State College three-season athlete, Anna O’Brien, never sits still.
“I was going to take a gap year, but ended up coming up and meeting the lax [lacrosse] team because I got recruited. I fell in love with the team and had to come up here,” said O’Brien.
O’Brien’s high school lacrosse coach once told her she was one of the worst she’s ever seen, and later joined a club lacrosse team which gave her connections to college coaches.
KSC’s head women’s lacrosse coach Katie Clark said, “We are lucky lacrosse is one of her interests and appreciate the fire she brings each and every day.”
O’Brien is a junior majoring in film here at KSC. A typical week in the life of O’Brien looks like this: Hockey practice at 6 a.m. Mondays and Thursdays with games on the weekend, Rugby practice from 4-6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and lacrosse fall ball practice (which just ended) Monday and Tuesday nights, and practice 2-4 p.m. on Friday.
As for balancing academics, O’Brien said she is dyslexic and ADHD, and while school is tough she is trying to manage.
According to Web MD, dyslexia is a learning disorder that causes difficulty affecting the ability to read, write and spell. ADHD is a chronic condition that is shown by inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity.
O’Brien said if she can, she tries to make it to all three practices. “Some days [I’m] drained as hell, other days [I’m] just totally driven to want to do my best,” said O’Brien.
In terms of picking which games to attend when there is overlap, she says she picks in the order lacrosse, rugby and then hockey. “I don’t think I have a favorite because I love all of them so much. Each one is so different and unique in its own way,” said O’Brien.
O’Brien is a goalie in lacrosse, plays defense in rugby and currently is a flanker in rugby.
As a goalie, O’Brien said, “That’s the only place I can be alone and self reflect.”
KSC sophomore Tess Masci is a lacrosse teammate of O’Brien. “She’s wicked dedicated and good. She always has positive vibes and makes me want to play better,” said Masci.
Playing hockey at Keene is much different than her high school experience, O’Brien said. “It’s a lot chiller of a team. I played with a lot of chicks who want to go [Division 1] D1 [schools] and that’s all they’re focused on, it’s nice to take a step back and appreciate [hockey] for what it really is.”
Junior Madison Richardson, who plays hockey and rugby with O’Brien, said O’Brien is a beast on the ice. “She’s better at hockey then I am, she’s always willing to help and is so humble. She doesn’t judge you on your skill level and is very accepting,” said Richardson.
As for rugby, O’Brien said there is no other sport like it, “I don’t think I could take out my anger on anything better than rugby.”
Rugby teammate Kate Hubbard, sophomore, said, “Anna is super charismatic and probably one of the most generous people I know. She is
super positive and always looks out for others.”
Being a three season athlete, O’Brien said, “You just have to stay positive, and remember that we only have so much time. After college, I’m not going to be able to play sports like this ever again.”
One of O’Brien’s favorite parts about playing sports is meeting the people she knows at Keene State through sports.
Long boarding, music, playing guitar and film-making are other hobbies that O’Brien enjoys.
She recently started playing shows, and performed at Penuche’s Ale House for the first time on Oct. 25.
O’Brien said she enjoys music, and sports have, at times, conflicted with that. She said, “I’ve missed a couple of shows that I would have liked to seen…or having to stay in for the night.”
Sports have shaped O’Brien into the person she is today. She said she has learned, “We as people are like a sports team. Everyone is so different, everyone assumes so much and there’s this structure that is relevant to so many people, sometimes teams are cliquey and at the end of the day all you have to find a way to live amongst each other and do what you have to do.”
Izzy Harris can be contacted at email@example.com