Written Senior Perspective - Kathleen Young, Field Hockey

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.

Kathleen Young
Winthrop House
Harvard Field Hockey
Concentration: Human Evolutionary Biology

Looking back on my time as a member of Harvard field hockey, I am overwhelmed by how proud I am to have been a part of such an incredible program. Our senior class had the exciting opportunity to help rebuild the program from the moment we entered four years ago. When I was recruited, we were ranked in the bottom half of all Division I teams. By senior year, we earned our highest ranking in program history at No. 6 in the nation and won the program’s first NCAA tournament game. But, the rankings and the wins and the records do not matter as much as the family we built. We forged connections between players, parents, alumni, and coaches. We created a strong foundation and fan base that was proud to support Harvard Field Hockey. During my sophomore year, before our first NCAA appearance against Syracuse, our coach read aloud over 50 notes from alumni who had sent us well wishes. It was humbling to hear from so many women who had come before us be so genuinely excited and proud of our success. I will be forever grateful to everyone in the Harvard Field Hockey family for helping us create something special during our four years here. Together, we helped continue to build the program up practice by practice, game by game, season by season into something we were all proud of.

Further, I feel incredibly fortunate for the opportunity to experience everything Harvard has to offer. Our team has an amazing array of interests and extracurricular activities. Many of us have gone abroad, held internships, learned a foreign language, or held part-time jobs on campus; all while engaging in challenging classes and balancing our commitment to the team.

It’s been incredibly fun to be a part of this group of young women. We are all so different and yet, we are held together by a love for field hockey and a love for each other. It is easy to forget there are no scholarships on the line to keep us on the team, no contracts or commitments forcing us to go to practice or remain on the roster. We play simply for the love of the game.

I am often asked, “is all the time and commitment worth it?” My answer has, and always will be a resounding, “Yes!”

At the end of the day, field hockey was fun. It was fun to win with my teammates. It was fun to run fast, hit the ball well, score, and make good defensive plays. I loved every minute of my athletic experience. Going out to the field every day was exhilarating, new, and brought me great joy. One is supposed to play sports for the love of the game, for the love of sharing a common goal, and the love for a team that becomes family.

It was absolutely worth every minute I spent doing what I love with people I love. I know I can look back and appreciate every moment, and I will never forget what we built during my four years at Harvard.