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Standing on the right edge of the 18th fairway, I had 147 yards left to the green. An easy cut 6-iron put me 30 feet right of the tucked back pin. The downhill lag putt came up about two feet short, and I tapped in for my par.
Thirty minutes later, the scores had been tabbed, and our goal of qualifying for the NCAA championship finals had fallen just out of reach. I hadn’t known it at the time, but that two-foot putt on the 18th green had marked one of the most special moments of my time at Harvard: It signified the end of my collegiate golf career.
As we loaded up the van one last time and left Notre Dame’s Warren Golf Course, it was hard not to think about the significance that my final putt encapsulated. Just like that, thousands of hours of practice, training, and competition had come to a complete close. But it had been a moment that had passed by without the profound significance I would later ascribe to it.
Sometimes, the sports stories write themselves as remarkable—a touchdown with 55 seconds to go to seal an undefeated season, the jumper from the top of the key that secured the March Madness bid. But undoubtedly one of the most rewarding parts of my time as a sports writer for The Crimson has been unearthing the significance in the less visible—but no less remarkable—moments in Harvard sports.
It was the time when the freshly-minted varsity women’s rugby team walked onto the field to face Brown wearing inside-out grey t-shirts, numbers scrawled on the players’ backs in black marker. The squad’s win in that regular season contest against the Bears would serve as an homage to its Radcliffe roots and springboard an Ivy title-clinching final season stretch.
It was the moment when a then-sophomore who battled dyslexia, ADHD, and an expressive language disorder became the first-ever Harvard diver to represent the Crimson in the NCAA finals in over a decade.
It was all of the regular season victories from the Harvard women’s ice hockey team as the group climbed its way up the national rankings en route to finishing as the runner-up in the NCAA championships.
These are the stories that may not necessarily grab our headlines, but they should grab our attention. At a place like Harvard, it’s all too easy to let the remarkable—we are surrounded by so much of it—fall into the mundane.
Every person has a story. Every sport and every athlete has one too. I hope we keep telling them.
—Staff writer Brenna R. Nelsen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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