The most interesting man in the world2
I had just teased Connor about being the dos equis guy and then the reporter called for an interview and enjoyed speaking to Connor so much he spent 30 minutes interviewing him. The following is the interview that ran in a local newspaper right before the Wrestling State Tournament.
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journaling: Batavia senior Connor McKeehan played left offensive guard on the Bulldogs’ Class 6A state championship football team. He’s now in Champaign competing in the individual wrestling state finals. Yet much of the conversation with this 220-pounder regarded anything but sports. With apologies to the Dos Equis guy, McKeehan may be the most interesting man in the world. Introspective, considerate, polite, forward-thinking, well-rounded. He sadly recounted giving up both acting and playing French horn in the school band to devote more time to sports. Toward that regard, he was a two-year starting lineman and this season’s Upstate Eight Conference wrestling champion at 220 pounds — after which he won the UEC’s wrestling sportsmanship award — with a record of 27-7 after going 27-5 as a junior. McKeehan remains in the high school Chamber Choir, however, inheriting his love for music from parents Chris and Wendy. A wrestler since seventh-grade at Rotolo Middle School, Connor has already received the required congressional appointment, from U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren, to join the Air Force and Naval academies; he eventually hopes to be a Marine Corps officer.
Q: While speaking with you, you mentioned a grandfather stationed stateside during the war in Vietnam. Was that your inspiration to enter one of the service academies?
A: This has all been on my own, my interest in the academies.
Q: What was your motivation?
A: I think a lot of this stems from the Boy Scouts, in that I’ve been a huge fan of Boy Scouts. I really, really love it. The Boy Scouts focus on serving others and helping others, improving the community, stuff like that. To me the military was an extension of that.
Q: Are you still involved with Boy Scouts?
A: I still have been relatively involved, but sports has taken me out of it more than I’d like to admit. My Eagle Scout application will be going through very soon.
Q: What was your Eagle Scout project?
A: I did landscaping at Marklund. Marklund is a home for severely disabled (people). The residents all are in power wheelchairs so they have these swingsets that actually allow them to swing while they’re still in their chairs. There’s one and there’s going to be another one soon — a patio next to their baseball diamond, so I landscaped around the patio that’s out there.
Q: How do your scouting activities affect you on a daily basis?
A: I think really what it does is it changes the way I approach people, the way I talk to them, especially people that are older than me. Using phrases like ‘Sir’ and ‘Ma’am,’ I use them myself. They’re very respectful ways to address people that are older than you, or people that you don’t know. I think it’s really affected a lot of the little things in my life, made them better.
Q: I’d imagine an offshoot of this was winning the Ed Washington Memorial Sportsmanship Award at the conference wrestling meet? Why do you think you got that?
A: I guess it’s really my demeanor on the mat, the way I present myself in sports and certainly a lot of it had to do with my future goals in the community and all the community service I’ve done and things I’ve done to help others, setting a good example in the community.
Q: How does that translate to athletics?
A: I’ve always been more on the sportsmanship side of things. I try as hard as I can to be respectful to my opponent. It’s important to remember that they worked just as hard as you have, and if you lose to them it means that they just worked harder than you did.
Q: Have you considered college athletics?
A: My goal for the future is to get into one of the academies and eventually get out as an officer and serve my country. If wrestling is what gets me there, that’s what gets me there.
Q: Do you wish you’d started earlier in wrestling?
A: Yeah, I feel like I would have been able to get more out of it. It’s a different sport and it’s very challenging mentally.
Q: How so?
A: I think because of the fact that at the end of the day a lot of times in wrestling it’s the kid who wants it more. I’ve always said wrestling is like 90 percent mental and 10 percent physical. The physicality is very important, but it’s not what wins matches at the end of the day.
Q: What kind of rush was it to win a state football championship?
A: That was an unbelievable experience. I’m not going to lie, that was one of the coolest things I’ve ever had the pleasure of being part of in my life. To look into the stands and seeing 15,000 people from Batavia ready to watch you play, that was something else, that was so cool. But for me the overall thing about this team, it was an adventure. Every game was something different, something new, something interesting.
Q: You’re the oldest of three children, with two younger sisters. What are the pros and cons of being the oldest child?
A: I think the cons would have to be that you’re kind of the first one to do everything. Being the oldest, you’re the parents’ first one, the first one to do anything — everything’s new to them and new to you. I think I’ve grown to appreciate that.
Q: And the positives?
A: I guess I feel like I’m more of a leader in the family to my sisters. Being the oldest, it gives me a different perspective on our relationship and it’s just real cool. They really look up to me and it’s just really neat.
Q: What was your favorite role as an actor?
A: Probably the last one I had, which unfortunately was way back in sixth-grade. I was part of a school play and I was one of the leads. It was a really fun time. It was ‘Pecos Bill and the Dirty Dan Gang.’ I was Dirty Dan.
Q: How did you come to join the school choir?
A: I actually come from a family of singers. Both my parents are singers and as such I became one, too. My whole family sings. It’s something we all do and we really enjoy it. We all sing at the church (United Methodist Church of Geneva).
Q: I wish I had the guts to sing. How it make you feel?
A: Singing, for me, I think is a really good way to just let everything go.
| Date: Sun February 23, 2014
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