The 2016 Senior Perspectives is the 11th in a series of annual collections. Senior captains and representatives of teams at Harvard have been invited to contribute viewpoints based on personal experience from both their senior seasons and full varsity careers at Harvard.
For a complete listing of 2016 Senior Perspectives, click here.
AnnMarie Healy, Women's Basketball, Team Co-Captain
Hometown: Edina, Minn.
House Affiliation: Kirkland
“I am weak” --These three words go unmentioned, avoided, forgotten, and looked down upon by almost every athlete. However, all athletes experience moments of weakness. During each Saturday morning conditioning, I ran so hard I felt like I had to collapse after every sprint. There were days after lift that I couldn’t raise my arms above my head. At times, I didn’t think I could give my coach “one more.” I have been set back by injuries, concussions, and disappointing seasons. Lastly, sometimes the balancing act of school, practice, friends, and sleep crashed. I will be the first to say, “I am weak.”
But, weakness does not define me as an athlete; it is how I have persevered through weakness that defines my character, making me the stronger person I am today.
As an athlete at Harvard, I found for the first time that I was not enough. I could not do everything on my own. I needed support from something, someone who was stronger. I turned to Christ. In my weakness, I turned towards a strength that was given to me by my Catholic background: Christ and His Church. I often prayed a very short, simple prayer: “I can’t. Jesus, you can.” My weakness was filled by God’s infinite strength. The accomplishments I have had on and off the court are due to His strength in me, not my own.
Now, I do not fear weakness. Weakness is often defined as “I can’t,” but I have learned that it means to give until you can’t give anymore. In being filled by an infinite being, I do not fear complete exhaustion by pushing myself until I collapse, giving until I am empty, leading until I am weak, and loving until it hurts. This is hard and even uncomfortable, but I do it with a smile because Christ is my source of life, love, and happiness. My strength comes from the Lord.
Thank you to all of my coaches—present and past—but, in particular, Coach Kathy Delaney-Smith, for pushing me past my perceived limits so I could find how to overcome any challenge. Also, thank you to my teammates who have walked with me on this journey, especially my classmates Kit and Shilpa. You all have pushed me further, but at the same time extended a hand to pull me back up. I could not have done this without any one of my teammates. I will always remember the 2015-2016 Harvard women’s basketball team as tough, resilient women.
Next year, I will be working for an organization called FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students). As a Catholic missionary, I will be serving collegiate athletes. I hope for the opportunity to walk with women through their weaknesses and the challenges and sufferings of life, giving them the strength of Christ.
So, it’s true, I have limits, I find that out every day, but it is how I overcome them that matters. I have learned that by giving the Lord my moments of weakness, I find my greatest strength. I will carry this lesson with me for my entire life. Thank you basketball. Thank you Harvard. Thank you God.