Senior Essay: J. Reed Endresen
Being admitted to Harvard was a dream come true that began in
the fall of 1996 when I saw my sister, Blair Endresen, step on the
court as a member of the Harvard women’s varsity squash team
and as a senior be elected captain. Sensing the camaraderie that
existed within the team, the excitement of the crowd, and the
dedication of my coach Peter Briggs, a Harvard squash legend,
inspired me to strive to become part of the Harvard tradition.
My four years on the men’s varsity team has had a profound effect on me. Learning to cope with situations on the court has given me a better understanding of people; listening to my coaches has made me a more competent athlete; winning and losing has taught me humility; developing a positive mental attitude has taught me about leadership. Being elected captain this year has a special significance and is a great honor. It is recognition of my hard work, competitive spirit, and most importantly acknowledgement by my teammates of their belief in my ability to lead them. Mental toughness, perseverance, competitiveness, and a strong sense of fair play are the marks I hope to leave with them. It has been an exciting challenge leading this talented varsity and junior varsity squad. Being a mentor of such outstanding young men both on and off the court is an experience I will never forget. Managing disappointment during the season has been the most challenging part of my experience. I am also excited to have welcomed Coach Way on board and watch him embrace the Harvard traditions. I feel I have helped bridge the change in head coach from Coach Baj’s decade of coaching to Coach Way.
Our team has always been determined, but I was never prouder than our victory during Nationals that gave us a fifth-place ranking after falling to sixth place during regular season. The Murr Center was filled with enthusiastic Harvard supporters cheering as if we had won first place.
Long after match results are forgotten, I will remember the commitment to excellence, and the friends I have made here at Harvard, especially the ones I went to battle with every day across the river. Harvard squash is defined for me by the team’s commitment, discipline, and determination to achieve our goals. I will never forget the exhilarating feeling of wearing the Harvard uniform, facing strong competition, and being surrounded by guys I was proud to call my teammates.
My mantra is from Teddy Roosevelt’s speech “Citizenship in a Republic”:
“The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena… who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”