Returning to GoCrimson.com for a fourth 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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September 27, 2017
Who are we?
Who are we?
WHO ARE WE?
This is how we start every match. We come together, excited to represent the Crimson with passion for the game. It gives me the chills every time. The fact that I get to be a part of this team and a student at this college never fails to amaze me. Every time I step on the court, I remember how blessed I am to be at Harvard, a place where opportunities are seemingly endless.
Last spring break, I was honored to attend the first Harvard Vatican Leadership Summit. I traveled with about 25 other students from Harvard to Vatican City. High-ranking cardinals, archbishops, priests, and laypeople generously hosted us in roundtable discussions covering topics ranging from the refugee crisis and international diplomacy to healthcare and business. Our goal was to gain insight from these senior leaders on how the Catholic Church approaches communicating with a wide variety of stakeholders across the globe. We hoped to learn how to best serve our fellow brothers and sisters as future leaders.
The trip officially began with dinner at a restaurant in front of the Pantheon. From there, we hit the ground running. The mornings started bright and early with the celebration of mass in different parts of St. Peter’s Basilica. Each day was packed full of roundtable discussions, sightseeing, and 5-course meals. We had the opportunity to listen to Pope Francis speak in St. Peter’s Square, and we were invited into the Apostolic Palace. At each meal, a few of us would share stories about servant leaders that inspired us with their work. Role models ranged from doctors to members of the military to athletes.
Over the course of the trip, I found common themes repeated in the stories shared by both my peers and our generous hosts. Model servant leaders operated on sacrifice, integrity, and love. The best leaders served their neighbors by asking for help and by seeking growth and understanding. Cardinal Giuseppe Versaldi noted that effective leadership builds from strong identity. He defined the distinguishing factor of strong identity as “the capacity for dialogue in which you listen, understand, and can confront other opinions without fear or rigidity.” Later, he continued by saying, “Preparation is not sufficient for answering the call to servant leadership. Formation motivated by love is necessary.” This message, along with numerous others, left me thinking about how I could use my time at Harvard to continuing growing as a leader while serving my neighbor.
In the blink of an eye, I found myself back on a plane to Cambridge. I could have been away for months rather than for a few days. Spring break at the Vatican proved to be the experience of a lifetime. I will forever cherish the life advice some of Pope Francis’s top advisors shared with us. I returned to Cambridge stuffed with spaghetti and excited to be back with HVB. As our pre-game chant echoes in my mind, I hear Cardinal Versaldi’s words. I see teamwork, cooperation, and passion in his message. How beautiful that the very definition he used to relate identity and leadership define the women I am blessed to step onto the court with every day.