Around The Yard: Richard Martinez

Returning to for a fourth season, "Around The Yard: Life As A Harvard Student-Athlete" explores life away from the playing fields for select Harvard student-athletes through their own first-person narrativeFor a full list of blog entries, click here.

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Richard Martinez
February, 17, 2018

September 4, 2017 marked my first official day as a Harvard Wrestler. The first day of my first preseason will forever be a landmark in my life. Not because it was so incredibly grueling that I nearly threw-up (it was), not because it was my first elite training session in four years (it was), and not because I had been anticipating the start of this journey since I was allowed to walk-on the team shortly after I was admitted (I had), but because it was the first time that I suffered with the new family that I had been adopted into. Before that day, my teammates were just other wrestlers that I did not really know, and that I knew I was going to be spending a lot of time with. I had my reservations. Did I want to get along with everybody? Of course, but realistic thinking prevented me from getting my hopes up. Luckily for me, my realistic attitude was wrong.

Suffering, in any regular context, carries with it a negative connotation, but given the proper, irregular context, it can be tinged with positivity. In the Army, there is saying, not a mantra by any means, but a saying nonetheless that when spoken, got me through many a tough time. The saying is simply: “Embrace the suck”. A reminder to soldiers that there is hardly if ever a time that will not be difficult in some way, so the best way to deal with it is to accept it for what it is, and thrive there. However, a factor that is often forgotten is that a soldier will rarely, if ever, have to “embrace the suck” alone. In this manner, bonds are formed under the ugliest, and sometimes, most dire of circumstances, but after the dust settles, you are left with friendships that will never falter. On September 4, 2017, I was happy to suffer with my team for the first time. And when we concluded our preseason four weeks later, we walked out of the stadium more than just a team, we were a family.

This is my testament to my brothers here at school. Yeah, the yard is cool, and I have participated in some of the of events and organizations on campus, but there is nothing I look forward to more than our daily 3:30 practices. From 3:30 onward I am with family and anything we do together is fine with me. Whether its crashing community night dinners, late night study sessions, or disgruntled walks to the Pfoho D-hall (thanks J-term), everything is better with these guys around. I look forward to the next three and half years of suffering.