Returning to GoCrimson.com for a second season, "Around The Yard: Life As A Harvard Student-Athlete" explores life 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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October 27, 2015
It’s unfortunately rare that I find myself taking a moment to stop and appreciate how lucky I am to be a Harvard student-athlete. But sitting on a wooden chair eating pancakes on the sandy bank of a steaming New Hampshire lake, I was overwhelmed by a feeling of gratitude. I looked around at my teammates—some of them inhaling pancakes, some still half asleep, some rough housing, some already out kayaking, and some recounting the previous night—and I thought about the amazing ride we were all about to begin this season.
The previous day we had suited up for the first time for our scrimmage against McGill. Immediately afterwards we were greeted by four minivans in the back of the rink. Each class took a van and a coach, except the seniors who drove without a coach. (We nicknamed our van the “free speech” van.) The caravan of black minivans were heading up to Weare, New Hampshire, where a Harvard hockey alumnus had invited both the men’s and women’s teams to stay for the night. Mark Fusco (a former winner of the Hobey Baker award) owns a resort, a collection of cabins on the edge of a lake, and he essentially donated the whole resort for a night to our teams. I think most of us were struck by how remarkable that sort of generosity is. As much as it is a testament to his personal graciousness, I think it is also a testament to how special it is to be a part of the Harvard hockey program.
That night we sat around a bonfire. Sydney held portable speakers in her lap, Nikki and Karly competed for the fattest roasted marshmallow, and Dani was passed out. Even as my eyes watered and burned from the smoke I didn’t get up because I didn’t want to miss a moment. Our two teams sat and sang and “danced” like kids at summer camp.
The next morning we bundled up for pancakes on the beach. After breakfast we filed back into the vans and headed to a set of paintball fields. We flipped our sweats inside out, picked up equipment, split into teams, and walked apprehensively onto the field. I would not say that gratitude was at the forefront of my mind as paintballs whizzed over my head. I would say it was mostly fear. After three hours of welt collecting we piled back into our vans and headed back to school. When we returned to school the psets and papers greeted us. I wearily returned to my normal Sunday homework routines, more bruised, more exhausted, and just a little more grateful.