A childhood spent a quarter-mile from the beach and a school where football players go directly to the rugby pitch as soon as gridiron season ends to play for an iconic coach.
A local Rugby Bear from yesteryear? Not even close.
The student-athlete in question is Seamus Kelly, a junior outside center and two-time All-American who is pursuing his degree in political economy.
The beach community where Kelly was raised isn't in the Bay Area, either - it's Breezy Point, N.Y., and that's farther east than Far Rockaway.
To get home after football or rugby practice each night from Xavier High School in New York City, Seamus and his brother, Sean, would take a subway to the end of the line, followed by a bus, and then hitchhike the remaining miles to their home.
Most people wouldn't know that hitchhiking is still part of life in "Breezy," as the police officers, firefighters and other city servants who comprise the community call it. There may have been a lot people didn't know locally about "Famous Seamus" before he arrived at Cal.
By now, that has changed. Last May, Kelly scored the try that added the game-winning points to the Bears' 26th all-time national collegiate championship.
But Kelly has always opted not to let his voice do too much talking.
"He was a quiet boy growing up," said his mother, Janine. "He became a lot more social as he got into sports. He always did well but was never one to tout himself about it."
Mrs. Kelly had a 15-year career in the New York City Police Department, beginning as a transit cop in East New York and retiring as a police officer in Rockaway.
Seamus' father, John, also retired recently after 25 years with the New York Department of Sanitation, rising from his route in Manhattan to the Chief of Sanitation's Police and Enforcement in the borough of Queens.
Although their son was a bona fide beach boy who worked as a lifeguard during the summer, Janine Kelly said that when Seamus tried surfing, "that didn't go too well."
In other sports, he excelled. At Xavier, Kelly played rugby under coach Mike Tolkin. Together they helped Xavier win the Northeast Championship all four years of Kelly's career, as well as the Tier B National Championship in 2007.
While Kelly has matured into a successful student-athlete at the University of California, Tolkin has risen to become head coach of the U.S. National Team, a post coaches Jack Clark and Tom Billups have also held.
Kelly's former coach can envision a future reunion between them at the national level, and his current coaches concur.
"Seamus is everything you want as a coach and a teammate," said Clark. "Xavier High School is a wonderful beginning pedigree, but it's more than that. His parents are rock solid and Seamus himself is driven to improve. He has an inspirational presence on our team."
"He's a great runner, a great open-field tackler," Tolkin said. "He has a number of opportunities ahead of him should he choose to pursue them, and I think he will."
Despite Kelly's talents on the pitch, rugby is not why he got tagged by the New York Daily News as Famous Seamus, a nickname he found "funny."
As a running back, Kelly earned first-team all-city marks in 2007 and '08, and first-team all-state honors in 2008. He was named ESPN's East Regional player of the week after rushing for 291 yards and five touchdowns, catching a 72-yard touchdown pass and going 80 yards for a score on a kickoff return for a reported 478 all-purpose yards.
Those football talents sparked interest from regional universities, but the offers never materialized.
"It was extremely difficult for him," said John Kelly. "He had in mind certain schools, but for whatever reason, it didn't happen and he took it hard. He thought he could compete."
Coach Tolkin suggested that Seamus consider rugby at Cal.
"I didn't know much about what rugby could be after high school," Kelly said. "It wasn't until I understood the national scope of it and learned about Cal that I said, `Wow.'"
As his son boarded a plane to fly out to Cal for his visit, John Kelly said, "I didn't think anything would come of it. But after the visit, he said, `This is where I want to go.'"
The concept of playing for Clark was not too intimidating following Kelly's high-school career with Tolkin.
"Don't expect to be coached on everything," Kelly said of his philosophy. "Take responsibility for yourself to know your role so you go into practice knowing what needs to be done. Always expect to work your hardest all the time."
That commitment to team and desire to improve prepared Kelly well for his transition from one iconic coach to the next.
"I understand what's on his plate: the pressure to win, the tradition, the legacy and what that entails," Kelly explained about Clark. "I just worry about what I have to do and let him take care of all the hard stuff."
Kelly's parents have been thrilled with the lessons their son has learned at Cal both on and off the rugby pitch.
"It's a little insular down in Breezy," John Kelly said. "Getting outside the gates, as we call it, is all a part of his education."
More broadly, Seamus' parents have appreciated rugby's international reach.
"That's the appeal of the sport," John Kelly explained. "You can just see the camaraderie, so unique to rugby. In our travels, we've seen Canadian kids cheering for England, Americans cheering for Wales. You can't say enough about the exposure you get."
John Kelly added that he and Janine feel "lucky and privileged, not just that Seamus has had the best coaches, but that they teach how to become young men. You represent not only yourself and your family, you represent your school. It's been a great experience for us and we couldn't be happier for our son."
Make no mistake - Seamus has never been a Mexican foodie and he said he's had "a tough time finding some pizza spots" in Berkeley, a community with a spectrum of beliefs that range off his political radar. But he said the diversity of opinion has been important for him.
"I couldn't be happier that I came out here to experience this," Kelly said. "If I had gone to school right around my home, just experiencing the same thing my whole life, I wouldn't have seen this other side of everything. That's the beauty of it."
The return of rugby in 2016 to the Olympics, where Cal players helped USA win gold in 1920 and '24, has sparked an additional fire in Kelly.
"Cal wants to produce athletes that are going to represent their country in the Olympics and the national team," he said. "We've got to be right there competing."
If Rugby Sevens develops as an autumn competition prior to spring 15s, rugby will essentially become a two-season sport, which suits Kelly well.
"That's why I chose Cal," he said. "If you play football in college, it's a year-round commitment, and I wanted that type of environment and approach in a rugby program."
Has Kelly had any second thoughts about the path he chose through the Redwoods up to Strawberry Canyon, where he trains with his teammates to reach their potential?
"None at all," he answered. "Cal has been the best choice I've ever made."
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