Written Senior Perspective - Kaitlyn Schiffhauer, Softball

Photo by Gil Talbot
Photo by Gil Talbot

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.

Kaitlyn Schiffhauer
Hometown: Los Altos, Calif.
Concentration: Statistics
House Affiliation: Adams

It is difficult to write this reflection now, as I am currently fighting for a championship alongside my teammates in the midst of our conference schedule.  However, after years of reading these perspectives, I know that by the time this is published for others to read, I will have played my last game in a Harvard uniform, and my career as a softball player will have come to an end.

Although it feels easy now to reflect on the highlight-worthy moments that have led me to this point, like Coach has always emphasized throughout my years on the team, it is the little things that make those big moments possible.  I think it is little things that I will no longer have in my life that will come to describe my experience as a member of HSB.

It was juggling and playing hacky sack on the field during pregame warm ups.  It was how loud we screamed for one another climbing up the stadium steps and testing our max front squats.  It was walking across the river for Monday morning lifts in the dark and coming back a few hours later to see the sun rise over the Boston skyline.  It was playing cards while stuck on a bus for seven hours.  It was poorly singing along to music in the locker room after series wins.  It was getting off the bus in the waning hours of a Sunday night and shuffling back to the Yard.  It was dancing during rain delays in dugouts.  It was the countless fist bumps, back pats, hugs, and high fives given after sacrifice bunts, homeruns, errors, diving catches, strikeouts, base hits, wins, and losses.  It was our parents and alumni toweling the puddles off of our field alongside us.  It was the post-game team huddles in the outfield, no matter the outcome.  It was the small and sometimes fleeting moments, little things that can be overwhelmed by flashier milestones, that illustrate how Harvard softball became my family, my home. 

All of those moments, big and small, in failure and in triumph, have given me lessons that I will carry with me long after I have cleaned out my locker.  Coach has said many times to us throughout my career that her job is not to make our lives easy, but to make us better.  I cannot think of a better way to frame my time at Harvard.  As I now see my former teammates moving on to their next great life adventures, whether it be in their jobs, relationships, or pursuing the highest levels of education, I know that the lessons, friendships and memories I have gained as a member of Harvard softball will be with me for the rest of my life.

When I started playing softball in the second grade, I did not have any idea the game would take me to this place or bring the people into my life that it has, nor do I think I could have possibly imagined it.  I am forever grateful to every coach who believed in me and gave me an opportunity to play this game; to my teammates for loving, supporting, and embracing me for who I am; to my classmates for being the sisters I never had; to Angela and her family for always dedicating so much of their time to me and my aspirations; and above all to my parents for their lifetime of love and support and for helping me fulfill this and every other dream I have had.  

Finally, thank you softball for every lesson you have given me along the way, I’m sure some of which I will only come to appreciate from the bleachers rather than the dugout.