The 2017 Senior Perspectives is the 12th 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.
Jeffrey Ott, Wrestling
Hometown: Chelmsford, Mass.
House Affiliation: Kirkland
My experience as a Harvard wrestler has been one of substantial personal growth. I have grown in how I approach challenges, gratitude, and relationships. I recently read some of my journal entries from freshman year, chuckling at my outlook towards wrestling and life from four years ago. I took everything so seriously, and thought about myself far too much.
Through the leadership of my teammates and coaches I have been able to take life less seriously and appreciate others more. I found peace in the process of life. I used to worry about aspects of my life that were far out of my control, often worrying about the future or the past. During my time with HW I grew to recognize that focussing on the here and now would take care of the future and alleviate regret from the past.
There were times when I was convinced that I would not make it through the next challenge that I faced. My coaches, competitors, and injuries pushed me to and sometimes past my physical and psychological limit. I didn’t doubt that I could do something, I knew that I couldn’t do something. And then, just like that, I had done what moments before was impossible. The belief that I received from my coaches and teammates expanded my eyes to a level that they will never contract from. I now know that humans can do so much more than we believe that we can. Wrestling gave me confidence in my ability to tackle these daunting challenges without any fear of humiliation or failure.
Wrestling taught me the impermanence of all things. Life and it’s many aspects are fleeting. I learned how to take advantage of opportunities and appreciate each and every day. Coach Harrington promoted the belief that each day was a gift with his insistent decree that everything was “awesome.” I learned to believe in the beauty of the ordinary after 18 months of immobility following two surgeries during my year off. Every day I recognize the fortune that I have to have four functional limbs, lungs to breath, a mind to think and connect, and so many wonderful people in my life.
The people of Harvard wrestling are the program’s crown jewel. As an organization, Harvard wrestling prides itself on recruiting and developing men of the highest character. I have never been around individuals who are as driven, disciplined, and kind as the men of the third floor of the MAC. This culture extends to the parents, families, and alumni of the program. The culture of Harvard wrestling is world class. Selfless at every juncture, the dynamic of the Harvard wrestling team is cohesive and respectful while joyful and competitive. I have been around great men since the day I first stepped into the Harvard wrestling room. From coaches, Weiss, JP, Sean, Muz, Dustin, Andy, and Mike, I have been blessed to be guided by such great men. As captains I have had the privilege to grow along side great men like Steven, Walter, Cam, Todd, Pappy, Joe, and Nick. I have developed my closest relationships through with the men of the MAC. And I will be forever grateful for my Harvard wrestling experience. I do not believe that there is another organization that I could be prouder to have been a part of than Harvard wrestling.