PARTING SHOT: Harvard Stadium: It’s Not Just a Field

A lifelong love for sports still has its place in academia

When I came to Harvard four years ago, I had no idea what college would be like. As a four-year high-school varsity athlete, sportswriter, and consistent spectator at all of our school’s games, I decided that college would be a chance for me to branch out and try new things. I was ready to be super academic and take a break from the whole sports thing.

Then I saw the stadium.

Everyone that had driven up for freshman move-in day was parked in a lot across the river behind the track until it was their turn to head to the Yard. As someone who had no intention of being involved in Crimson athletics as a pre-frosh, I had never ventured to the athletic complex before.

I had never seen the colossal beauty that was Harvard Stadium.

As we drove by the stadium, I couldn’t stop staring. My dad, who is not a man of many words, turned to me and said,“Wow, wouldn’t that be a cool place to cheer in?”

I was hooked. In less than a week, I had made the Harvard cheerleading squad, and a part of that beautiful stadium was officially mine.

In 40 years when I’m reminiscing about Harvard, I’ll remember that stadium more than anything else.

Executing awesome stunt combos that I had only seen before on TV, watching the coliseum fill with cheering fans at my first Harvard-Yale Game, having a football thrown to me on the sidelines after an amazing reception (thanks Corey Mazza!)—this is Harvard for me.

The stadium also has been much more than a place for me to cheer. I’ve made my best friends on those sidelines, as well as my best memories.

The stadium has even gotten my friends and me through some of our roughest breakups, because there’s really nothing that the 50-yard line and a bottle of Goldschlager can’t fix.

Although being a cheerleader and Crimson sportswriter has probably made me into the biggest DHA creeper on campus, this is a title that I don’t really mind.

Harvard athletics has gotten many of us through this competitive academic jungle, and for me, the stadium has been a huge part of that.

I’ve never been more proud of my school or myself than when I am in that sacred space, and Harvard Stadium and Harvard sports are everything that I have grown to love and cherish about Harvard itself.

So to wrap up a four-year career as cheerleader and sportswriter, there are only a few words left to say—Harvard rocks, Yale can suck it, and I’ll see you all next year at The Game.

—Staff writer Alexandra J. Mihalek can be reached at amihalek@post.harvard.edu.

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