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Inside the helmet: quarterback Sean O’Malley

Senior Sean O’Malley is Loyola’s star quarterback on the varsity football team. Over his three seasons as starting quarterback, O’Malley has fine-tuned his skills and enjoyed many memorable experiences on and off the field.

O’Malley first started playing flag football at the age of five years old and tackle football in sixth grade. He attended St. Paul the Apostle for middle school and enjoyed his first football experiences there. He said, “Those roots really helped me develop a passion for football. Playing at such a young age gave me the opportunity to experience football fully and eventually lead me to choose it as my passion.”

As a freshman, O’Malley was named the captain of the freshman team and held the starting quarterback position. He said, “Freshman year was a good year for me. I felt I played well. I had always wanted to become a varsity quarterback. I liked how freshman football drew everybody closer together. Hell Week was hard but we all got through it. The brotherhood that formed through freshman year is what I enjoyed most.”

O’Malley’s leadership continued as he was named the captain of the JV team his sophomore year, before being called up to the varsity roster during a bye week with four league games left in the season.

Reflecting on this opportunity to step up to the challenge, O’Malley said, “I was pretty nervous coming up to play on varsity as just a sophomore. It was a big step from JV football, but I was up to the challenge. I had to work extra hard because I knew I still had to develop. Eventually, this attitude helped me become the person I am today.”

Along with being a captain both his freshman and JV seasons, O’Malley is again a captain for the varsity team this season. “I’m very thankful that my teammates have voted me into that position,” O’Malley said. “To me, being a captain is being the person your teammates can look to when facing adversity. If we have a tough game, I find it my responsibility to keep everybody up and encourage everybody until the game ends. Being a captain is also dedicating yourself to the team and making sure you are giving all of your effort at any moment.”

O’Malley can spend up to thirteen hours a day at school during the season, which makes managing his school work and his personal life one of the most difficult challenges that he has faced. The considerable demands of balancing Loyola’s academics with the time commitments of the football team has taught O’Malley to budget his time effectively.

The varsity football team practices three times a week, including intensive on-field practices, weightlifting and film sessions. O’Malley manages the team practices in addition to his individual preparations, which include throwing with a private coach and watching film.

In preparation for every game, O’Malley follows a consistent routine that includes reviewing any last-second notes or film; listening to music to help clear his head and focus his mind; and praying for the comfort, strength, safety and success of all of his teammates.

According to O’Malley, the friendships that he has made on this team are ones that he will take with him for the rest of his life. He said, “The team camaraderie is unbelievable. When times are tough and practice gets long and hot, you look at your teammates and remember why you’re doing this. The teams puts in so much work together that it binds us together, which is something special to me. The brotherhood that I have experienced is what I like most about being on the team.”
Outside of football O’Malley enjoys photography. “I use it [photography]as a quiet time to relax and just focus on what I see through the lens of my camera. Football is such a quick and intense game that it’s nice to contrast it with something as mellow and calming as photography,” O’Malley said.

Reflecting on his high school football career, O’Malley said, “My experience with football in high school has been amazing. To me, there is no better opportunity for team building and brotherhood than on the football field.”


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