An Open Letter to Matt O’Connor
I’ve been lucky enough in my time here at Boston University to get to know you and become friends with you. I knew that I wanted to become friends with you because by every account, whether it be by fellow students, or interviews, or in talking with Coach Quinn, I kept hearing the same thing over and over: Matt is a great guy. In my time knowing you I have seen that they were all correct. I say the exact same thing to anyone I know here at BU or at home when I talk about hockey. I always get excited when I get to see you out there stopping pucks that would no doubt shatter my body like a monster. I think I can speak for every BU hockey fan in that you are an animal. You’re one of the best goalies that our school has ever seen without a question. Nothing will ever change that.
Today is probably not the happiest day. I would, and the same is true of all of us, give anything to go back in time and make everything change so that we would have the trophy back on campus today. But that, sadly, is not how life works. I wanted to share this with you, because I know that I had told you about my bone condition when we first met and became friends in the first place. Life is funny in that nothing ever goes according to plan. If it did then I wouldn’t have all my scars, or the chair, or my stories from all the fractures. That isn’t what matters. The breaks never mattered to me. All it did was give me an opportunity to prove my strength.
The character of a man is not decided by what happens to him. Rather, it is decided by how he reacts to the challenges he faces. If I was defined by the broken bones that I have suffered then I would be kept in a padded room forever. Instead I am here in Boston able to run into you on the street because I decided to not let anything stop me.
I know that is true for you too. Look at where you are today. You’re an all-star goalie for the best team in the country. You’ve got an amazing career ahead of you. Every person I know and all those that I don’t are unspeakably proud of you for the hard work and dedication you bring to your craft. We are thankful that we have you here. I’m thankful that I have you as a friend.
No matter what we will always be behind you supporting you. No matter where you go in life I will stand up for you, despite the fact you are much taller than me, and defend that you’re the best I ever saw. All of us will. Because at the end of the day, there’s no one we’d rather have in the net than you.
One game is one game. We still have the Beanpot and Hockey East titles, alongside an unbelievable turnaround season, much in part to your stellar year. Your teammates said as much, so did the coaches, and everyone I know couldn’t agree more. We owe a lot to you. You brought a lot of people joy. For me, you helped bring me on one of the more exhilarating rides of my life. Nothing will ever change the fact that this was all a success, all in all.
We are all proud of you, man. Thank you for an incredible year, an incredible journey, more trophies than we know what to do with, and for being my friend.
I don’t get to follow NCAA hockey as closely as I’d like in California, but I really enjoyed the few BU games that I did get to watch on TV. Last night’s game was a spellbinding match between two very talented teams, and I was so sorry that one had to lose. I agree with the late Warren Strelow that people shouldn’t put more negativity on a goalie’s position. Even a casual viewer could see that Matt O’Connor is a true warrior, and I know he’ll be even better as a goaltender and a person for having gone through this. Thank you so much for this post; I wish all of you well, and congratulate you on an amazing season. (As a Sharks fan, I want to thank BU for giving us Nieto, and I’m eager to see O’Regan at the Tank someday!)
In my opinion, it borders to irresponsible to shred an athlete into pieces, humiliate him publicly by the press and by so many individuals on social network. Humiliating an incredibly Outstanding Athlete and Person who has brought a team all the way to the NCAA Championship Game, an athlete who has given all he could, physically and emotionally and with high integrity, in my book is a wrong against the Human Spirit and against the Spirit of Sports. I feel sick thinking about these thoughtless and quick to judge critics and I hope that someday they will understand how wrong they were and the pain they caused. The error Matt O’Connor made led to the tying goal not the loss. There were many mistakes (an inherent part of each game) that were made during that final game but here we go..who ever made the most visible mistake (by the player in the most visible position) became the SCAPE GOAT for the loss. On the other hand there have been many who stepped up (including his team) who will not accept these cold hearted and harsh judgments against Matt but stand up for him and by him and in the end that is what truly counts.
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I love this letter. One member of a team neither wins or loses a game. Winning takes an entire team. Therefore it was BU Men’s Hockey Team that brought them to the Frozen Four and it was BU Men’s Hockey Team that lost in the final game. To focus only on the lose, one loses the whole story of a bunch of young men who gave it their all.
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