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Senior Essay: Fermin Mendez

The track on an unbearably hot September afternoon, the intimidating size of the football stadium steps, maxing out in early morning lifts, and that’s just preseason! Four years at Harvard pass rather quickly. What may seem an eternity to some, passed in the blink of an eye. A few years ago, a young naïve freshman walked into Coach Weiss’s office not knowing what to expect. The only thought echoing through his head was the desire to wrestle. Yes, that brief time ago, I was that freshman, and since then, I have never regretted it. Sure, athletics at Harvard is no easy task. There are ups and downs, highs and lows, but no one gets by that easy. Especially not a wrestler. We’re a different breed, and by no means sane. We sacrifice the comforts of life to do what we love. Harvard wrestling has only solidified that, and it has staked its claim in who I am.  I’ve had teammates from across the country, recruits and walk-ons. Every one of them has become a member of my family. Harvard wrestling does more than provide a family atmosphere; so again, I reiterate Harvard wrestling is my family. No matter the adversity or the difficulties I’ve faced, Harvard wrestling has been there to push me through it. My teammates have held me up, and my coaches have had my back.

To give a better grasp on how much the program has meant to me over these past four years, I’d like to include an excerpt from my senior banquet speech:
But I hope I’ve done merely benefit from the support here. I’m going to quote a little bit of Scripture because it’s part of who I am. Jesus says,

 “This is my commandment: love one another as I love you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”

Every time I have stepped out on the mat, I have done it for each and every one of you. I love this sport, and I love this team. Every match, every practice, every day, I’ve tried to give it my all for you whether that included correcting papers, working out, or just an open ear and an open heart.

Harvard wrestling has and always will maintain a very special place in my heart. These four years, I have given it my all just to wear a singlet for this university. The chance to compete here as a Harvard athlete is a truly unique experience. The reality of Harvard athletics has been a vivid dream, and I hope many more have a chance to don the crimson and white.