Thursday, March 15, 2012

Ode to Cahill

As almost all Eagles fans know, John Cahill's NCAA career came to an end with the conclusion of BC's participation in the ACC tournament.  Cahill, who played two years at BC as a man off the bench, was plucked from the Plex when Donahue needed more bodies for last year's team.  Cahill was looked at by Donahue during his high school days, but decided to come to Chestnut Hill for college.  A sharp shooter and a surprisingly good defender given his frame, Cahill represents a lot of what is good about Boston College.

After two years with the Eagles, number 22 is riding off into the sunset.

Under normal circumstances, Cahill would never have played a minute in an ACC uniform.  He's too small, isn't quick enough, and most of all doesn't have that elite high school pedigree with three or four stars from Rivals to back up his credentials.  These weren't ordinary circumstances and Boston College isn't your ordinary school.  Under ordinary circumstances, a new coach wouldn't have given a second thought to a kid he recruited years ago.  But Donahue's willingness to give Cahill a shot is a microcosm of why BC is such a special place.  Here, it doesn't matter what your pedigree is or what you've done in the past.  It matters what you can do right now, and what you're doing to prepare yourself for a better future. 

One of the reasons I love Boston College is because the university generally disregards legacy.  At some Catholic schools, it seems that the most important question on the application concerns which of your family members have also gone to that institution.  Here, it doesn't matter what your dad did or how much money he gives.  We foster a strong spirit of individualism, and encourage students to take charge of their futures.  Giving students an opportunity to prove themselves is what college is all about.

Cahill took his opportunity to prove himself to heart.  He knew that he would never be a huge scorer or a shot blocker, but he did know that he could help the team by playing obsessive defense, making open 3s, and lending leadership.  The fact that Donahue swears that Cahill is one of the best defenders on the team in press conference after press conference does not happen on accident.  This is something Cahill works at and should be proud of.  He played within himself and as part of the team.
I'm not pretending that Cahill scored 40 points a game, but he did play meaningful minutes and contribute on the court, and he always did so with the utmost class and respect, setting an excellent example for the younger guys.  Sitting at the media table, I can hear every word, fair or foul, that players say on the court.  While some guys on our team will scream swear words that make you shudder, Cahill is more known for addressing the referees as "sir."

Respect for others is a big part of Boston College's identity.  Sometimes it seems as though college students lose sight of the need for a certain amount of respect for institutions, traditions, and those with authority.  Cahill's gracious respect will undoubtedly serve him well as he moves into the working world.  

Good luck, John.  Thanks for serving your university, for leading by example, and for working hard everyday at Chestnut Hill.   
"Aien Aristeuein"


  1. John Cahill was great. He always made the right decision on every play. When a teammate would throw him the ball with under 2 seconds on the shot clock, he'd bail out his teammate by knocking down a 3 like there wasn't an ounce of pressure.

    I enjoyed seeing him play these past two years.

  2. John: If you play the game of life with the same style and grace you displayed on the court, your future is assured.


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