Older siblings set the tone for younger athletes

Sheddy brothers continue the tradition of Irish success


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The Sheddy brothers, from left, John, Paul and Patrick, carry on the Irish tradition of siblings being involved in athletics on the Hill, in this case, with older brothers setting the tone.

For some students, athletics are a family tradition, with older siblings setting lofty standards for a younger brother or sister. 

However, sometimes the younger siblings in these families face high expectations not only from coaches but also from themselves. They may feel pressure to live up to their siblings’ athletic success. 

Paul Sheddy, a freshman, has two older brothers, and both have played sports on the Hill. Patrick Sheddy ‘18, played football and lacrosse, and is now a junior at Indiana University in Bloomington. John, a current junior, also plays football and lacrosse. His sister, Ellie ‘20, competed in soccer, and his twin sister, Madeline, is a member of the women’s lacrosse team. 

Paul is a lacrosse and tennis player, and as the youngest of his brothers to attend here, he grew up watching his older brothers play lacrosse. Now it is his turn to take the field for the Irish.

“There were definitely expectations based on having brothers that performed.”

— Freshman Paul Sheddy

Because Paul’s brothers played, the lacrosse coaches were already familiar with him and his family. Paul said via Zoom, “Both (lacrosse coaches) kind of knew me already and got to know me pretty quick.” Since Sheddy was already on the coaches’ radar due to his brothers having played lacrosse, he said he feels that there are perhaps higher hopes for him from the coaches. He said, “There were definitely expectations coming from them based on having brothers that performed.”

But Sheddy also has high expectations for himself. He wants to have the same success that his brothers achieved while playing lacrosse for the Irish. According to Paul, John would have played on the varsity lacrosse team as a sophomore, had the season not been canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Sheddy hopes to follow in his brother John’s footsteps next year, as he hopes to make the varsity team or be double rostered by his sophomore year in both junior varsity and varsity lacrosse. He knew that achieving this level of success so quickly would be a tough task going into the season, saying, “I was kind of worried as to whether or not I could live up to (making varsity as a sophomore) and do as well as he (John) did.” 

So far, though, Sheddy said he feels that he has played well and to meet the expectations of his coaches and those he has placed on himself. He said, “I’m definitely trying to live up to them, and I think that I have so far.” 

Many athletes must meet these same situations, having had siblings perform athletically before them. This could be a negative for some athletes, as it just adds more pressure for them to succeed. However, others will use it as motivation and apply that pressure to live up to their siblings as fuel to succeed athletically. 

In the end, though, living up to their siblings’ success is not the main focus for these athletes. They aim to help themselves or their team do its best. Sheddy said, “My goal is to ultimately win a State championship.”