The 2017 Senior Perspectives is the 12th in a series of annual collections. Senior captains and representatives of teams at Harvard have been invited to contribute viewpoints based on personal experience from both their senior seasons and full varsity careers at Harvard.
Taylor Cabe, Softball
Hometown: Boiling Springs, S.C.
Concentration: Human Evolutionary Biology
House Affiliation: Leverett
At the age of 16, as a junior in high school, I knew I wanted three things out of my college experience: 1) To play softball; 2) To attend a reputable university where academics would be my top priority; and 3) To stay within a three hour car ride of my home town Boiling Springs, South Carolina. Luckily for me, only two of those three things held true when I took a leap of faith and decided to come to Harvard.
I've loved the game of softball since the first time I picked up the ball when I was eight. I love the feeling of the dirt under my cleats and, for me, there's something powerful about spinning a rise ball – feeling the explosiveness loaded in my grip and the spin cut through the air as soon as I release the ball. Because of my love for these things, collegiate softball was always my ultimate dream. Today, I love the game even more than I did as a child and an aspirational teenager. I love cheering in the dugout for my teammates. I love the finesse of setting of up a batter – the chess-match that ensues, and when I've done my job right, ultimately results in strike three. In a twisted way, I even love the test of having a runner on third and giving every ounce of effort I have to make sure she doesn't score. I love the challenge and the pressure – the innate drive to relentlessly pursue excellence regardless of circumstance and at the cost of hours of sweat and hard work. I have loved every lift, every practice, every bullpen session, and every pitch I threw during my four years here. Even the most difficult of experiences that I didn't realize I loved during the exact moment in which they were occurring, looking back, I know I loved them and the wide-eyed, hopeful 16 year-old who dreamed of doing those exact workouts and making those exact plays for so many years, she loved them.
Now, as a senior pitcher in my final semester of playing softball, I sometimes think back to that 16 year-old girl I was and laugh. I think about how young I was and how my experience with Harvard Softball and Harvard University was the dream I didn't even know I was capable of dreaming. Sitting here today, despite the numerous personal challenges of the past four years, I am beaming because I know I have lived out my original dreams ten-fold. Not only did Harvard Softball fulfill my dreams of competing at the highest level in the sport I love, but Harvard University gave me a future my 16 year-old self could have never imagined.
During my time here, I've gone out of my comfort zone and entered a world where I have been pushed athletically, academically, spiritually, and emotionally. On the field and the classroom, I've come to truly understand what it means to persevere – refusing to give up pursuit of attending medical school and contentions for an Ivy League Championship each an every year. I've learned to take pride in my work and my effort. Wearing Crimson and standing beside my teammates year-in-and-year-out has been a true privilege and honor. I've been humbled every day by the amazing individuals I sit next to in the classroom and play alongside on the field. I think the greatest gift that Harvard has given me is the people I have met. Harvard and Harvard Softball gave me my people – friends, blockmates, and teammates who grew into family that I will treasure forever.
As I prepare to graduate, I recognize Harvard and specifically Harvard Softball have been integral in preparing me for the next chapter of my life – one where softball, my first true love, will not be as actively present. The day I lace my cleats for the last time will be the end of an era for me. I toggle back and forth between feeling like I am leaving a core piece of my identity behind and excited anticipation for life's next adventure to begin. It is because of Harvard Softball and the values my coaches and teammates have instilled within me that I find happiness amongst the closure and that unlike 16-year-old Taylor, I'm less afraid to jump into the unknown. I have found peace at the end of my career knowing I gave so much of myself to Harvard Softball and that in return it has given me back so much more.