LoriAnne O’Connor Steps Up to Home Plate
LoriAnne O’Connor, Sophomore Criminal Justice Major, Outfielder
Division I | Knights Softball
By Sara Campione
LoriAnne O’Connor started playing softball at age three. With a large squishy ball — like the kind found in a claw machine at an arcade — and a Wiffle ball bat, she would take pitches from her father in the backyard. An avid baseball fan, her father wanted to pass along his passion for the game to his firstborn. While she did explore other sports, she says softball is the one that just clicked.
Softball gives the self-proclaimed “wild child” the opportunity to let it all out, emotionally. “When I play, I can express all the crazy emotions building up inside of me,” says O’Connor. “Whether it’s screaming and chanting when a teammate makes a phenomenal play or jumping around the dugout when someone bats in a run to win us the game, I just love to be able to genuinely express myself.”
She says her favorite game-time memory (so far) as a Knight was during her first year. “I hit the tying two runs to lead us into a win against East Carolina University. It was my first travel weekend against an extremely competitive team, and it felt rewarding as a first-year starter.”
As a student-athlete, O’Connor has met a lot of new faces, many now close friends. “My teammates are some of my best friends, I would even say family. We pick each other up and hold each other accountable. When things go wrong, we help each other and when things go right, we celebrate for each other. I would not trade my teammates for anything.”
As she enters her second season with the Knights, O’Connor, a criminal justice major, is balancing her schoolwork with athletics and social life. She lives by a detailed schedule — everything set in advance — consisting of weightlifting, practices, games and team-bonding activities, and of course, classes.
“It takes a lot to become a student-athlete. Some students forget that the ‘student’ comes before the ‘athlete,’” says O’Connor. She relies on time-management tips and tricks to keep herself organized.
“As college students, it is our job to maintain our grades and complete a degree. That is why it is important to balance out your school life and sport life,” she says. “Time management can be tough, but if you try your best, things will become easier.”
It’s also really crucial to O’Connor that she prioritizes her mental health. “You will have bad days, and on other days, you’ll feel great. As a student-athlete, you must have a strong and positive mindset. It is always okay to seek help to maintain your health and keep a healthy mindset.”
Prior to this article being published LoriAnne O’Connor has decided to finish her collegiate career at Flagler College.