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.
Rico Stormer, Wrestling
Concentration: Mechanical Engineering
House Affiliation: Dunster House
I have been wrestling since I was four years old. I think it is safe to say wrestling has become a part of my being. Without wrestling I firmly believe I would not have had the opportunity to be at Harvard. Now, I was not a recruited athlete. In fact, I didn’t even know that Harvard had a wrestling team when I applied and only discovered as much once I was admitted. The reason I, a farm boy from rural Montana, applied to Harvard was because wrestling had instilled in me a confidence and mindset that said, “Why not me?” Someone gets to go to Harvard to be great and it might as well be me.
Wrestling is about far more than winning and losing. It’s not just a game. One doesn’t simply play wrestling. When you step out on that mat you are preparing to do battle against your opponent. It’s your will power against your opponents and only one of you can be victorious. Yet wrestling is not about this single moment on the mat. Wrestling is a journey from the first moment you step onto a wrestling mat to that moment you hang up your headgear for the last time. Its within that journey that you develop character and life skills such as discipline, hard work, and responsibility. Probably the most impactful part of my wrestling journey has been my time as a Harvard wrestler.
I began my Harvard career by meeting my teammates at the John Harvard statue. At the time I did not know it, but I would come to forge some of the strongest bonds of friendship with my teammates and that we would push each other towards excellence. The focus of the Harvard wrestling team culture is all about making better men for the future. Harvard wrestling is a team of 25 men of the highest character who pursue excellence together. Proverbs 27:17 says “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” This can be seen directly in our success on the wrestling mat and in the classroom where Harvard wrestling has consistently had the highest team GPA in the country and even broke the record in 2017. My brothers on the Harvard wrestling team, I thank you for constantly pushing me to be the best version of myself.
What made my time as Harvard wrestler so impactful had a lot to do with the coaching staff. Coach Weiss has helped to create a culture that focuses on making better men not just better wrestlers. Being a member of the wrestling team has been the most positive experience I have had at Harvard and it was all possible because Coach Weiss took a chance on me. I will forever be thankful for the opportunity he gave me. Coach Harrington is the most infectiously positive man you will meet. Forever his words of “It never always gets harder” will ring in my mind. Coach Muz showed me how to enjoy wrestling. He is a man who embodies all that wrestling is and loves the sport. It was an honor getting to practice with him as my coach. Each one of these coaches is deeply invested in each and every Harvard wrestler and that is what makes this program great. I don’t think you could ever find a group of coaches who care more about their athletes than these men. Thank you to all the coaching staff for the countless hours you put into making me into a better wrestler and man.
Wrestling is not an easy sport; sometimes it’s not even a fun sport, but I do love it because of all of the life lessons it has taught me. This past wrestling season my father asked my youngest brother if he liked wrestling. My younger brother looked at my father like he was crazy and responded, “What do you mean? It’s who we are, it’s what we do.” Wrestling is a part of my family and a part of my life. I would like to conclude by saying:
My name is Rico Stormer, I am a Harvard wrestler and wrestling is what I do.