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.
Hometown: Lincoln, Neb.
House Affiliation: Mather
I have been playing softball since I was four years old. At that age, I couldn’t have imagined what this sport would mean to me or where it would take me – it was just something that I was dragged to every week. Little did I know that this game I was playing would lead to some of my greatest memories, best friends, and lifelong lessons. As I look back on my career both with Harvard Softball and as a softball player, there are many things that stand out.
One of the most important, and perhaps difficult, lessons I learned on the field was that progress doesn’t work in straight lines. In order for progress to be made, you first have to fail. A lot. It doesn’t come easy - it comes after 4-hour practices in the bubble; it comes after demanding lifts in PD; it comes after hours and hours of work. And sometimes, even after you put in all of this work, it still doesn’t present itself in the ways you want. But if you trust in the work you’re doing, keep an open mind, and keep working at it, progress will be made. For me, managing this wouldn’t have been possible without the help and support of my teammates, and learning the value of both your team and your teammates is possibly the most important thing I learned at Harvard.
When I first stepped foot on campus in the fall of 2015, although I was excited about the next four years ahead of me, I wasn’t yet sure that I belonged here. How could a kid from the Midwest really contribute in an environment like Harvard? I was coming into a different culture, a rigorous academic environment, and living away from home for the first time. Additionally, prior to coming to Harvard, I had never really been a part of a team for more than a season or two, so I had never formed strong relationships with any of my teammates. These fears, however, quickly dissipated once I met my classmates and teammates. I found comfort in the fact that my classmates and I were all starting out at the same place. I was reassured when I learned that so many of my teammates had felt similarly at the start of their careers. We would quickly form bonds that would last throughout my four years at Harvard and ones that I will cherish for many years to come. I came to Harvard for an education, but I am leaving with so much more than that thanks to these incredible people I have met along the way.
And finally, Harvard Softball has taught me the importance of gratitude. It’s hard to imagine saying goodbye to something that has been a part of my life for the past 18 years, but there are pieces that I will always keep with me. While I will, of course, remember the six-hour bus rides, the early mornings and late nights, and the hours of practice, I will also remember playing catch with my dad in our front yard, the feeling of winning a game in the seventh inning, and so much more. So, thank you. Thank you to my coaches for pushing me to be better each and every day. Thank you to my teammates for supporting me and becoming my best friends. Thank you to my dad for putting up with me for a countless number of hours and to my mom and sister for always supporting me and traveling to games near and far. And finally, thank you Harvard softball for teaching me, allowing me to grow, and giving me the opportunity to pursue a dream I didn’t even know I had when I first picked up a ball 18 years ago.