Jacqueline Kelleher may have just become a part of Boston College this fall, but Boston College has been a part of her life for as long as she can remember.
Kelleher, a freshman midfielder/forward on the field hockey team, is not the first person in her family to play a sport at BC. Her grandfather, Tom Donahue ('51) was a member of the football team and her mother, Kathy Donahue ('85) played both soccer and lacrosse.
"They are both really proud of me," Kelleher said. "My grandfather loves it; I mean loves that I play here."
As a freshman in high school, Kelleher had dreams of playing ice hockey at the Heights, but soon realized it was not possible.
In order to get a chance to be an Eagle, like her mother and grandfather before her, Kelleher shifted her focus to field hockey. Once she visited the school and got the offer to play, she said no other college was an option because of her family ties.
Spending time on to campus has been a family affair for years as her parents have had season tickets to the football games since Kelleher was born. They attend almost every game, along with her three younger brothers, who are given free roam of the grounds.
"It's very intense tailgate," Kelleher said. "My mom is totally fine letting [my brothers] run everywhere; they go into the Plex. They wait for the football players outside the locker room after the game."
Growing up in nearby Walpole and attending the Brooks School., Kelleher has found that there are a lot of benefits to having her mother so close and so involved in her college experience. Not only does she get frequent home-cooked meals, but her mother, who works in Watertown, also stops by to help out with laundry.
"Some people [say] it's weird that you're so close and your mom [is] always here but I like it and she likes having me close," Kelleher said.
Kelleher's mother kept close ties with her best friends from BC and Kelleher has heard many stories about their times in school. The proximity also allows her mother to attend the field hockey games. Mrs. Kelleher is very involved with alumni activities and her lacrosse team will be attending an upcoming field hockey game together.
Though other family members have attended BC, Kelleher knows that for her grandfather, having his granddaughter at his alma mater and playing a sport is a big deal. As soon as he found out Kelleher was coming to BC he started to give her pep talks about the school.
"To see me in that uniform is his dream," she said. "It's really cool to have him be so proud of me."
For somebody with such a deep connection to BC, it is only fitting that Kelleher would score her first collegiate goal in a rivalry game against Boston University.
The goal, which was the Eagles' only score in the 2-1 loss, tied the game and helped energize the team.
"It was our first night game," Kelleher explained. "[BC] got a really good picture of it. We're big hockey fans and that [rivalry] has always been part of our life so it was cool."
Not surprisingly, the picture of her first goal has already been proudly framed and put on display for all to see.
Since Kelleher started playing field hockey at the collegiate level, she has found that the game is much more complicated. Though it is played on a different surface then high school and opposing teams are much more talented in college, she feels that the physical aspect comes easier because she is forced to pick up her game in order to keep up. The hardest adjustment has been learning all of the new tactics and studying film.
"It's a lot more technical," she explained. "Where you go on the field always has a purpose. In high school, you just kind of ran around and did whatever you wanted. It's a lot of learning; we watch film every day. By the end of the season I really want to know what I am doing out there, [know] where I'm going and where I'm supposed to be." P>One of Kelleher's one-term goals is to become an impact player for the team and a leader who everybody looks up to. If she can make a habit of scoring clutch goals against rivals like BU, there is no doubt that she will realize this hope and have a mother and grandfather who are even more proud of her then they are now; if that is even possible.
(This article was written by Boston College senior Eddie Lockhart.)