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.
Dallas Hogan, Softball
Hometown: Mount Laurel, N.J.
Concentration: Cognitive Neuroscience & Evolution
House Affiliation: Eliot
About a week before our season opener I walked over to our softball field alone and sat in the dugout. I stared out to the field where so many emotions have been felt and lessons learned over these past few years. How, in just a few short months, am I possibly expected to say goodbye to a sport that has given me so much?
For me, I did not come to fully appreciate softball until I came to college. Prior to college, I enjoyed playing sports because I was both athletic and competitive. However, over the course of my four years at Harvard, softball has become way more special than just a mere hobby. The meaning of softball had completely changed once I became part of HSB. Playing for Harvard softball has made me realize how gratifying it feels to work day in and day out toward achieving both personal and team goals. Each and every time you devote time to becoming a better athlete, whether that be going to practice, lifting weights, or mentally preparing for a game, you are ultimately investing in improving your character. Competing at the collegiate level provides you the opportunity to not only constantly take part in something you are passionate about, but also be a part of something greater than yourself.
These past four years I have easily been able to identify as a student-athlete. Nonetheless, it is still often easy to lose sight of the reasons why you put yourself through the endeavors of athletics after constant failures. It is also easy to lose sight that you are attaining a Harvard education after receiving a mediocre grade after countless hours studying. Despite such academic setbacks, to be able to attend one of the most elite universities in the country is something to be grateful for. And even more so, to be a student-athlete makes the college experience that much more valuable. Not only do you get to spend time perfecting your skills in your sport, but you also gain so many other life skills along the way. You establish meaningful relationships with teammates, coaches, trainers, and are able to be part of a community even bigger than your team. You are constantly submerged in support wherever you turn. Knowing that I have so much to be appreciative of as a student-athlete puts things back into perspective and reminds me why everything was worth it.
Some people never understood how I could choose to spend so much time with the same people every day even after spending hours with them on the field or in the weight room. I choose to spend my time with these people because they are the ones who I’ve experienced the hardest laughs with in the locker room, the biggest tears after the end of a tough loss, the immense joy after a huge series sweep, the greatest sweat after an insane conditioning workout and even the largest excitement after a teammate’s individual success. These shared experiences and felt emotions are what connects me to my teammates and have fostered lifelong friendships. I have not only been pushed by these girls on the field, but also inspired by them in the classroom. So, when people ask why I constantly immerse myself with my teammates, I can proudly say because they not only have made my college experience incredibly worthwhile, but also have helped shape me into who I am today.
So, while I may have to say goodbye to playing competitive softball, I know I can at least take with me the memories made, lessons learned, skills developed, and relationships formed during my journey as a student-athlete at Harvard.