Columbus-native Eric O’Brien played in 11 games for the Machine in his first season back in MLL since 2007. During those 11 games, O'Brien even tallied three goals including his very first against the Hamilton Natiionals during the first game of the home-at-home series in July. But O'Brien started making a name for himself back in college when he played for The Ohio State University from 2004 to 2007. While at OSU, he was named two-time GWLL Player of the Week, 2007 Top Ten NCAA Finalist for face-off wins 2007 Ohio State Most Improved Player, 2005 and 2007 OSU Ground Ball Award and 2007 Academic All-Big Ten.
1. What made you choose lacrosse over all the other sports out there?
The aggressiveness and physicality of the sport. Each game requires the body to not only be physically prepared but also mentally. The game of lacrosse can be specialized and tactical resulting in the smarter athletes/team on the field coming out on top. It is different from the traditional sports such as football, basketball and baseball. Constant action, not standing in a field waiting for a ball to be hit!
2. When you were little, did you expect to be one of the best players in the world?
I always strive to be my best, no matter what I am doing! Growing up I always desired to be an athlete in the college and the pro ranks. I just didn’t know which one! I played football, soccer, hockey, basketball, golf, roller hockey, lacrosse and baseball throughout the years. I narrowed it down in high school to three and became very successful as a midfielder in the game of lacrosse. I saw other players on my teams, as well as other athletes, who saw practice as a job and really didn’t enjoy the time commitment but played anyway. For me practice was what I wanted to do, loosen up after sitting around in school all day, be with some good friends and beat each other up proving who the best on the field was!
3. What is some advice you would give to those youth players hoping to make it to MLL status one day?
Never give up, always push to be your best both in practice and in games. Constantly think of ways you can approve your game, go to sleep dreaming of dominating every single aspect of the game. Always think how you and your teammates can be winners! Create a mental aspect to your practice. If you work hard enough and fine tune your skills, you should be able to vision yourself being successful on the field during games.
4. Who has been your favorite person to work with up to this point in your career?
My Dad…. A successful business owner who dedicates himself to what he enjoys and is good at. He taught me the effort I needed to put in in the younger years to become successful on and off the field.
5. Who is your lacrosse role model?
All of my teammates and coaches, I don’t just have one. Each player and coach I have played with up to this point has had a significant contribution to my success. It’s a building process. I had the opportunity to be coached by Steve Dusseau, a former MLL pro at the time for Boston, my senior year of high school. He would suit up and play each day with us. I think I learned more from watching him play than the coaching. I hope that many players with successful careers in college and the MLL should realize the opportunity they have to give back to the game by coaching the youth and doing it while they are young in their 20’s and 30’s. That’s the time these kids really look up to you!
6. What is one thing that you try to improve on with your playing style?
Becoming stronger everyday, so I don’t face anyone physically in shape more than myself. Developing a new style of face-off midfielders and growing away from the term FOGO. I love facing off in the game of lacrosse, possession is important and at this level it can win games for your team. What levels possession out and limits the game being dominated by possession is the shot clock. In the MLL if you have a FO who can play D and dodge with the ball, you have one scary dude. I’d challenge any current FOGO in the MLL to a brave-heart match up. Of course with Schroder or Phipps in my cage!
7. What was your favorite part of the Ohio Machine inaugural season?
There were so many favorite parts of the season. The fans/home crowd, playing at the highest level in front of friends and family. Meeting new teammates and playing again with former college friends. Lining up against the best players in the world knowing everyone has one goal to perform, win and be the best! Traveling the states and playing in different venues.
July 4th in Denver had to be one of my top experiences as an athlete. Treated to a great trip by the Machine organization, playing in front of 31,000 sport crazy fans in bronco stadium, including the long distance girlfriend who lives there.
8. What is one thing you learned during your 2012 season with the Machine?
Keep working hard; never give up, practice, practice, practice and know what it means to push myself. I still can be even better, I know now what improvements I need to make so next year when we come across these teams, I will know what to expect. I will practice every day on these improvements I need to make.
9. What are you looking forward to the most in the 2013 season?
Becoming a dominate, all-around midfielder in the MLL, having a winning season. Now that I have completed my first real season, I have a better idea of where I need to be after the off-season. I can monitor and customize my training to put me in a better situation for the upcoming season in 2013!
10. How do you plan to spend your offseason?
Working out and training constantly, working on the little details that will make me a better player next year, watch film, keep in contact with my team. Training camp for indoor season begins in December. Three months of my off-season will be spent playing indoor lacrosse in the NALL. Enjoying my family, friends and spending time in Colorado with my most amazing sweetheart, Libby J(guess who fit that one into the sentence). Building my business as a Financial Planner and Benefits Consultant at Mosaic Employee Benefits LLC and self-employed through Lincoln Financial Advisors. Owning a business can be an everyday grind but also gives me the flexibility to play and promote the League, travel and have time for the good things in life.
11. Do you have any game day superstitions? If yes, what are they (if you care to share)?
Eating Mexican food for lunch the Thursday before a Saturday game, eating Panera for breakfast on game day, taking a nap pregame, new socks for each game and a fresh hair cut each week.
12. What is your typical pregame meal?
PANERA – half an Italian sandwich, broccoli cheddar soup, cheese pastry, protein bar and plenty of water!
13. How do you prepare for an upcoming match?
Mentally visualize about dominating every component, how I will score, play defense and win a face-off. Think about the game and how I will place, watch film, work out, always have my stick in my hand (throughout workouts, watching TV, etc.)
14. How do you categorize a season as successful?
Working together as a team to win, having a positive attitude, everyone giving it 100% all the time, focusing on lacrosse, letting no negative thoughts happen with the team, getting the fans involved and becoming a family. With time we will win games and championships as a team, not individuals. Learning from experience, listening to coaches and improving as the season progresses.
15. What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
Never walk, don’t ever be satisfied with your play there are always ways you can be a better player, person, and role model.
16. What are three words that would describe who you are?
Passionate, Dedicated, Emotional
Random Facts about Eric:
Favorite sport outside of lacrosse: Pool Baseball – Invented by me…home stadium at the Graf Residence pool
Favorite type of food: Mexican, Eggs, No Bake Cookies
Favorite restaurant: Luce in Powell, Ohio
Favorite place in the world you’ve been to: Bahamas and Aspen
Favorite place you would like to visit but haven’t: Costa Rica
Favorite lacrosse moment/experience: Scoring my first MLL goal in Hamilton, making the top ten plays
Most influential person in your life:My Father
Top 3 favorite movies: Cinderella Man, The Doors, Puss and Boots
Top 5 favorite bands/artists: The Doors, Paul Simon, Bob Marley, Doobie Brothers, The Who
One thing you want to do but never done before: Travel the World