The 2018 Senior Perspectives is the 13th 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.
Annika Ringblom, Women's Tennis
Hometown: Palos Verdes Estates, Calif.
House Affiliation: Adams
Eighteen years ago, I started tennis because I was promised I could have a red Gatorade after every tennis practice. Flashing forward to the end of my career, I never knew that I would be promised an Ivy League education, life-long teammates, and countless memories on and off the court.
Stepping foot inside the Murr Center four years ago, I knew how to play tennis for myself—gaining satisfaction only from my own wins and experiencing pain through my own defeats. However, as I competed with my college teammates over the years, I always derived more joy from our overall team result than any of my own individual matches. As I reflect on my time as a Harvard student-athlete, one may assume I would first recount our biggest victories or most crushing defeats. However, when I shook my UPenn opponent’s hand for the final time, I caught myself reminiscing about the dance party we had in the Santa Barbara beach house, laughing about the plane trip we narrowly missed in Memphis, and filled with pride to be surrounded by the remarkable women that my teammates came to be over the years.
Harvard women’s tennis has taught me that this program is bigger than me. Over the years, I have chased down yellow, fuzzy balls to honor the women who came before me and set this program into place, to support my current teammates in all their ambitions, and to ensure that the program is left better than how I entered it. It has been an honor to encapsulate the values of our team by serving as a captain my senior year and emerging as a better individual than my freshman self who entered through the Harvard Athletics gates four years ago.
I would like to gratefully thank my family for putting a racket in my hand at age four and riding out this adventure with me, my coaches and teammates for pushing me to reach my highest potential, and the Friends of Harvard Tennis for allowing us to take memorable trips all over the country. As for my future, I will be searching for my next passion, but I know I will be keeping this Harvard team with me for the rest of my life.