Around The Yard: Michael Mancinelli

New to in 2014-15, "Around The Yard: Life As A Harvard Student-Athlete" will explore what life is like away from the playing fields for select Harvard student-athletes through their own first-person narrative. For a full list of blog entries, click here.

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Michael Mancinelli
Dec. 2, 2014

Appreciation. Honor. Tradition. Gratitude. Family. All key points discussed by every senior on the football team last Thursday night. With the end of every football season comes a very emotional week for the senior class. The final week, Yale week, has always been a special mix of emotions for me. It marks a time when a great group of leaders and friends will permanently depart from the team, while at the same time offering a new identity to germinate as the next class of leaders takes control. Personally, it is also a time of celebration and reflection. Especially with Thanksgiving being a few days after the season closes out, we have a slower time in our lives to think back on the season and mark all the aspects of it for which we are most thankful.

Anyone who has been part of a competitive sports program knows the bonds you build between players, coaches, and other assistants. Looking back on my last week, these bonds were the most important thing to me and the most important aspect. I will miss playing the game. I will miss putting on pads. I will miss the chance to compete physically at such a high level. But, I will miss the off-field human interactions more than anything.

If you read my previous blog post, you would know that I am not a philosopher, so I will stop talking about my thoughts and talk about some events. During the second half of the football season, I have been attempting to continue work on my senior thesis of Electrical Engineering. I have been working with Professor Marko Loncar, who has been extraordinarily helpful and understanding with my difficult in-season schedule. In the last few weeks, we have set up a collaboration with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. They are going to send us some optical detector mounts that they developed with the National Institute of Standards and Technology. It has been a learning experience trying organize communication between myself, Harvard professors, and professional researchers.

Lastly, I have been taking an Introduction to Global Geophysics course with Professor Jerry Mitrovica. It has been a really interesting branch off of my Astrophysics secondary, and has offered me some talking points with my brother who is a PhD candidate in Geophysics at the Scripps Institute of Oceanography. Anyway, Jerry has been a one of my strongest supporters this football season and has taken the time to get to know me and to follow the program this season. It has been great to have a member of the academic community so interested in both sides of my life at Harvard. He even took time out of lecture the Monday after The Game to have some “Michael Mancinelli Appreciation Time,” and sat down with my visiting brother to talk about some potential research opportunities.

There is a lot to be thankful for this week…