Written Senior Perspective - Elizabeth Shively, Softball

Written Senior Perspective - Elizabeth Shively, Softball

The 2019 Senior Perspectives is the 14th 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.

Elizabeth Shively
Mather House
Harvard Softball
Concentration: Government

As I write this senior perspective, there is one phrase that continues to permeate my thoughts: I’m not ready. I am not ready to say goodbye to Harvard Softball or my career. I am not ready to say goodbye to practices, lifts, or extra work, and I am certainly not ready to say goodbye to this incredible team. I believe these feelings are a testament to the culture that has been cultivated by a tremendous coaching staff, as well as decades of dedicated and determined players, all of whom have taught me so much.

Over the past four years, I have learned, not only how to be a better softball player, but also a better teammate and person, and although many teams say they commit to one another, Harvard Softball lives it. I did not know what it meant to have an entire team and coaching staff behind me until I came to college. I didn’t understand what it meant to have teammates who wanted me to succeed as much, or even more than they wanted themselves to succeed. To me, that is the definition of family. This team has given me a family that, regardless of outcome on the field, has genuinely supported and cared for me. Sure, the successes on the field have been incredible, unforgettable, and have in part, defined my college experience. However, it is in the losses and the poor performances that I have had the opportunity to experience true growth. In a sense, Harvard Softball taught me how to lose.

Whether it was a personal loss or a team loss, HSB showed me that there was a right way and a wrong way to lose. My teammates never hung their heads after a loss; instead, collectively, we figured out what needed to be done to be better, to improve and to ensure that the loss was productive. HSB taught me how to learn from losing and how to grow, how to recognize mistakes and own them. Because of this, I can confidently say that Harvard Softball taught me how to translate losses into victories.

These lessons, however, would not have nearly the same ponderance had I not learned them with my best friends. I have yet to thank Harvard Softball for giving me those friends, my classmates especially. In four years, I have accumulated a lifetime of memories with these incredible people and shared so many meaningful moments, none of which I will ever forget.

I have learned something from every single person that I have had the gracious opportunity to compete with, and for that I will be forever grateful. This program is what it is because of the people in it, and I have had such an incredible experience because of these women. We have experienced pure exuberance, defeat, grief, anger, every single emotion possible, together. I am not an individual on this team; rather, I am a part of a whole. One piece in a clock that requires every mechanism to work together, and I intend to keep doing my job for as long as I can, with the help of the rest of my teammates, together.