Around The Yard: Cleo Harrington

Returning to for a third 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 narrativeFor a full list of blog entries, click here.

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Cleo Harrington
October 7, 2016

Wednesday night I was at work at the Queen’s Head, our on-campus pub. The kitchen was slammed and I was supervising. Orders were coming in ten times quicker than we could put them out. I was running out to the floor to serve some fries to a party of two in the back left corner when I heard someone call out to me, “Hey Clee!” Turning, I saw it was four members of the men’s water polo team. I stopped by their table to chat for a quick second about their big win over Princeton the prior weekend, and made them some food after.

On the Harvard Water Polo teams, both men’s and women’s, we share the same coaching staff. Our coaches are constantly emphasizing the importance of having a “family” away from home, and how our teams should be that source of support for us. Spending 20+ hours a week together in season, it's not hard to find that support in the team.

Luckily, I have many “families” in my life at Harvard. My work crew at the pub, the community at the co-op (the alternative housing space where I live), my best friends off the team, and of course, my team. These support systems intersect all the time, some of my best friends work with me at the pub, live with me and support me at my games. 

But at the end of the day, my team, and Harvard water polo as a whole, is always there for me. Whether its various members of the men’s and women’s teams stopping by while I’m at work, hanging out together on a Saturday night or pushing each other in the pool, I can always count on them to lift me up, help me strive towards my full potential and make me laugh while they’re doing it. 

In a place that is still relatively new, compared to living at home for the first 18 years of my life, it’s incredible how grounded I feel in these communities. And it’s comforting to know, that no matter how crazy life can get at Harvard, a familiar face could stop by at any moment just to say, “Hey."