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.
James Green, Men's Heavyweight Crew
Hometown: Redditch, England
House Affiliation: Currier
Making the transition to the U.S. from the UK was less than smooth to say the least. Given my strong British accent and a propensity to mumble there were always going to be a few teething issues with my move to the U.S. But despite these sometimes difficult teething issues, HUBC has been a strong and defining cornerstone for my time at Harvard.
At HUBC there are a wide variety of personalities, from the occasionally grumpy German to the always-excitable Australians, shouting phrases at each other that do not seem to make sense in any coherent context. But despite these apparent communication issues combined with my thick accent, the boathouse was never a place where relationships seemed difficult. Rowing at the core is really a very simple sport; pull for the guy in front of you and do not stop until you finish in front of the other boat. Yet, often things make crew a little more complicated than that, but throughout my four years HUBC has never stopped pulling for each other. This might seem obvious in a sport that revolves around pulling, but HUBC is different to any other thing at Harvard. Every person around you at the boathouse wants you to succeed. This is not to say there is not a lot of internal competition, but instead that everyone wants you to do well, even if this may mean at his or her own individual expense. HUBC puts the team ahead of themselves and values the team winning over personal gain. This is something entirely unique to any other experience I have seen at Harvard, where aggressive competition to get ahead, without any personal connection, can be the norm.
But it is not only the people I have met, it is also some of the incredible opportunities I have experienced through HUBC. From the annual Harvard-Yale race to Oklahoma night racing with the seniors, it has been one hell of a ride. I will always remember the 48 hours we spent in Oklahoma and the lasting friendships sealed within my senior class. It’s funny, I would not have thought before Harvard that a lasting memory of mine would be a 500m-night race vs. the U.S. national team in Oklahoma but yet here we are. However, despite all the good, we all give something up to be part of HUBC. Be it the Harvard sponsored trip to Tokyo or simply late night drinking on Friday, HUBC has shaped my time at Harvard beyond anything I could have imagined. But if I had the chance to do it all again, I would do it ten times out of ten. It cannot be stated enough that there is something truly unique about rowing for Harvard.
Lastly, it is not just about whom I have met or nor about what I have done, but rather what I have learned at Newell Boathouse. It is a rowing clique, but I can comprehensively say I have learned more from my various Harvard coaches than any single professor during my time at Harvard. But these lessons are not about getting my rowing right, but rather teaching me more of the intangibles that will stay with me after I leave Mother Newell. Lessons such as how to push myself when there is apparently nothing left, to performing consistently at the highest level under great pressure. These are things that are engrained within Harvard oarsman and this is something I am grateful for from my four years rowing with Harvard.