Senior Perspective: Softball's Melissa Schellberg
Senior captains and representatives of varsity teams at Harvard contributed viewpoints based on personal experience from both their senior seasons and full varsity careers at Harvard. Each year the Senior Perspectives are compiled into a book and handed out at the Senior Letterwinner’s Dinner.
Senior Perspectives thus forms a valuable portion of each team’s legacy to sport at Harvard and to the permanent record built here by our varsity athletes. Throughout the summer, these senior essays will be posted to GoCrimson.com for all to see.
On a warm day in late April 2007, I walked up to the plate against Dartmouth pitcher Angela Megaw in what seemed like one of the longest weekends of my life. Entering the weekend, Harvard softball led the Ivy League North Division and only needed two wins against the Big Green to clinch the division title and head to the first ever Ivy League Championship. After a wild Saturday of play, our team had one win under our belt and one game to be completed at a later date, due to rain. One win against Dartmouth that Tuesday extended our season. Two wins would guarantee that the first championship series ever would be held in Cambridge. We ended up losing the first game that day, 3-2. So there we were, in the midst of game two that afternoon, in a battle for first place. Dartmouth scored first, but we quickly pushed back. Later in the game, then-freshman Lauren Murphy slammed one of her many home runs that season over the left-center fence, this time making it a grand slam. But Dartmouth wouldn’t go down without a fight, again jumping ahead of us 8-7. It was late in the game and to tell you the truth, we were flat out nervous. But that year was special, and we knew we would be driving back to Cambridge with a division title.
I walked up to the plate the next inning, and Megaw threw me two balls in a row. (Note: By the time everyone reads this, including competitors, I’ll be officially retired, so I’ll go ahead and say that if I ever have a 2-0 count against a pitcher, I’m swinging at the next pitch as hard as I can if it’s anywhere even close to the strike zone.) I knew she was coming at me and with two runners on, I hit the ball over the left-field fence. It was one of the greatest feelings in the world. Our team went on to clinch the division that game, and went on to host and defeat Penn in the Ivy League Championship on our very own field. A magical ending to a magical year. That year was just a taste of what would follow being a member of the Harvard softball team. Each year, Harvard softball has been a team of superb talent, excellent work ethic, and most of all, the most heart I have ever seen of any team in my life.
In the end, there is not one thing I would have done differently. I will leave Harvard with no regrets. And hopefully, I will have left a little bit of myself here for future Harvard classes. Because that is what Harvard softball represents—we are a family held together by traditions, and more importantly, a desire to be the best individuals we can be. My experience as a Harvard athlete has helped me grow in so many ways, into the type of person I have always wanted to be. I feel so very fortunate to have met all of my teammates over the years and shared memories that will last a lifetime. Softball has pushed me in ways that I could have never imagined, physically, emotionally, and mentally preparing me for anything life has to offer. It has been an experience that will help define the rest of my life. I’m proud to say that I am and forever will be part of the Harvard softball family.