So this week, he will return to Ann Arbor, a town he loves, to figure out what to do with the rest of his life. He will student teach for a semester to fulfill his education degree requirements. And then, perhaps he will seek a secondary academic concentration in physical therapy.
To the casual observer, those career choices – to teach and coach or to help others with physical afflictions – might seem like mundane, misguided possibilities. At his size, Cronin can’t escape the constant commentary: He should be playing basketball. Even his mother wonders why God made her middle son so tall, then deprived him of his rightful career path.
“It’s just the hardest thing. You’re 7 feet tall. You walk into a store and everybody asks, ‘Do you play basketball?’” Cronin said. “One of the hardest things was to say, ‘Not any more.’ You know, some people are rude. They say, ‘You better play basketball!’ and things like that. ‘I’m all done,’ is what I say now, but in that moment it’s the hardest thing. Losing basketball, your whole identity changes.”