On Campus: The basketball player

david_walsh.jpg David Walsh isn’t like most American kids, which is partly attributable to the fact he’s from Melbourne, Australia. He has a “what me worry” attitude, preferring to “test my boundaries and change things up,” he said on Thursday at Vermilion Community College in Ely.

He says he wanted to see what it’s like to live in a town of 3,000 people, and play basketball at the college there. The other day, he told me, some 4th graders stopped him in downtown Ely and asked to have their picture taken with him. As we chatted, other students walked by and waved at him. He knows everybody in Ely, it seems, which is something else considering that he knew nobody when he moved here.

It’s summer right now in Australia. “I kept asking coach at the end of my e-mails, ‘is it cold there?’ and he never answered any of my questions,” he said. It’s an effective way for someone in Ely, Minnesota to attract a good basketball player from Melbourne.

He’d like to play basketball here for another year and if he decides to make a career out of it, he’ll go back to Australia.

His one complaint is that classes aren’t hard enough. “I don’t just want to end up playing basketball for a couple of years, I want to set myself up in a career,” although he says he has “too many clues” of what that might be.

“I want to study psychology, French, drama, anything I can get my hands on, just because I want to know about that; it’s a curiosity sort of thing.”

Walsh isn’t terribly fazed by the economy, even though the Australian dollar is worth 66 cents in America. “It makes it hard to pay tuition.”

“There’s a lot of tough things to battle through and if you keep your chin up you can get through any of it. If you have a clear enough vision of what you want to do, you can get through anything,” he said.

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