Around The Yard: Hillary Crowe

New to in 2014-15, "Around The Yard: Life As A Harvard Student-Athlete" will explore what life is like away from the playing fields for select Harvard student-athletes through their own first-person narrative. For a full list of blog entries, click here.

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Hillary Crowe
April 15, 2015

With our season finally finished, I am able to sit back and reflect on my four years as a Harvard Hockey player.  I can't help but smile and think about how blessed I am to have had this incredible opportunity. The things I have learned and the experiences I have gained are things that cannot be taught in an academic setting. From the crushing emptiness of falling short of a goal, to the setbacks we face, to the pure pride and joy in hoisting a championship trophy with your teammates, the lessons learned are far reaching. It makes all the work and dedication we put in every single day of the journey worthwhile.

Our team faced a lot of adversity this year. I am no different. Hard choices were made and careers were seemingly cut short. Weird sequences of events and sicknesses put teammates in the hospital the week before our last home game weekend. The adversity I had to face came on what was a routine forecheck that I had done it thousands of times before, but on senior night I fell into the boards and broke my wrist.  It seemed certain that I had played my last game in a Harvard Hockey jersey. Despite the adversity that we faced individually and as a team, we never forgot the most powerful phrase for our team: Team First. We knew that the support and belief we had in each other would allow us to accomplish incredible things. We never once lost sight of the goal we set on the first day of the season, which was to win a National Championship.

Adversity is a difficult and often inexplicable thing. It comes in many forms and has a tendency to hit when we least expect it. When I broke my wrist, I couldn't fathom the fact that I had worn my jersey for the last time. The strength of my teammates and coaches allowed me to pick myself up and keep going. I knew I had to be strong and keep pushing forward because that is what being Team First is about. No individual player in our locker room was going to win the National Championship alone. Coach always reminded us that each person had to do her job. Despite a change in my role, I never lost sight of that and I found solace in it. Harvard Hockey is about being a part of something bigger than any individual accomplishment, and that is something in which I will always believe. Our team can count on each individual to bring her best because that is what it means to be Team First.

I have grown so much from being a part of Harvard Hockey and I will never forget all that it has taught me. One thing that was especially pronounced this year and something that will stay with me forever is that if you are truly Team First and you believe in something unconditionally, nothing is out of reach. Despite falling short in the National Championship game, we were committed to each other and to making each other better every day. As a freshman, we didn’t even qualify for the NCAA tournament. This year, we got to play for a National Championship. Despite the success our team had this season, the most important lessons I learned were not from winning or losing. They were from having to overcome adversity; learning to remain thankful each day you get to do something you love and knowing that the right attitude makes all the difference in the world when things seem most hopeless. I know not everyone is given a second chance to play. I was able to come back and play in the last game of my career because of the people who make up Harvard Hockey: my teammates, coaches, medical professionals and my family. So thank you Harvard Hockey for teaching me something I will always remember: when you believe in something whole-heartedly, nothing is out of reach.