"This bubble bursts at some stage" - Conor Whelan on being a hurler is wise beyond his years
Every American teen movie has that stereotypical jock.
The womanizing football player that only cares about being a starting quarterback and winning a state championship or something along those lines.
At the time you think it's stupid, nobody can really be like that but, on a lesser scale, you probably know someone like that closer to home home.
In our culture, GAA stars could easily fall into being a Hollywood jock given the fame and admiration they command at such a young age and the profile they develop from what they can do on the field but, for the most part, they're good spuds and it's definitely not the case for Conor Whelan either.
After winning the All-Ireland with Galway and also scooping an All-Star and Young Player of the Year, Whelan's star continues to shine brighter but he has his feet firmly on the ground.
The 21-year-old was on the latest episode of The GAA Hour and you got the overriding sense that he's just a sensible young man, one that makes the right choices most of the time.
Whelan is a man who has perspective. His tribute to his cousin after Galway's victory in September says it all about the man:
"There are three things to cry for in life: things that are lost, things that are found, and things that are magnificent."
Whelan also appeared on Ireland AM to promote mental health week, anyone that has watched it will know how well he spoke despite how difficult it would have been.
Speaking on The GAA Hour, the Kinvara man was asked about choosing to teach as a profession, being a teacher is an ideal job for a GAA player with a 9-4 lifestyle and summers off.
But it's not about that for Whelan, it's not all GAA for him and a life aside and a life after GAA is more important:
"Well, obviously your hurling career dominates your life at the moment but I see myself firstly as a person and secondly as an inter-county hurler," he told Colm Parkinson.
"At the end of the day, at some stage, I’m going to have to hang up my boots and I don’t want to be still stuck in college going nowhere or working a job that I’ve no interest in or that doesn’t excite me.
"Chatting to older lads on the team they’ll be telling you to make sure that you’re going somewhere and that it impacts on your hurling career that you’re doing something and you’re satisfied in life and you’re not just seeing yourself as a hurler because, at the end of the day, this bubble bursts at some stage.
"I’m very conscious that I want to be in a job that I’m happy doing and that I’m going in a forward direction.
"Teaching is something that I can see myself doing and something that I can see myself happy doing regardless of whether I’m hurling or not.
"That’s just something that’s important to me as a person and I’m not just seeing myself as a hurler every single day of the week because, at the end of the day, it’s an amateur sport and we don’t get paid for it and what I get paid for doing is teaching and that’s something I’d be very anxious to get fully qualified to teach.
"It’s important that you don’t overthink the game and, as they say, it’s just a game and life goes on and you have to put the bad defeats to bed and you’ve to move on from the victories as well."
Wise beyond his years, no doubt about it.
You can listen to the full episode below
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