The 2015 Senior Perspectives is the 10th in a series of annual collections. Senior captains and representatives of teams at Harvard have been invited to contribute viewpoints based on personal experience from both their senior seasons and full varsity careers at Harvard.
For a complete listing of 2015 Senior Perspectives,click here.
Marissa Gedman, Women’s Ice Hockey
Hometown: Framingham, Mass.
Concentration: Human Evolutionary Biology
House Affiliation: Winthrop
“Resilience is the ability to work with adversity in such a way that one comes through it unharmed or even better from the experience.” This is the quote that hangs from a tattered and worn piece of paper that I’ve carried with me from my small double-bedroom in Pennypacker Hall to where it hangs now, in my Winthrop House senior dorm room, holding on by its last thread of scotch tape. When I printed it for summer training motivation five years ago, I didn’t realize what a mantra it would become for not only me, but also the people around me.
Harvard women’s ice hockey has a history of excellence nationally, within the ECAC, within the Ivy League, but most importantly, in society. Girls come here as nervous freshmen with wide eyes, eager hearts, and tattered old skates but women graduate from here four years later (or five years…) with wisdom, pride, and some very achy hips from all the skating, I must add. But what I am getting at here is that this experience is invaluable.
My experience as a Harvard athlete was unique in the fact that I came in and played a big role on teams that did not necessarily win championships, but still embodied the values of Harvard hockey. I then suffered a devastating injury that gave me the most grueling but rewarding year of my life that I took off from both school and sport. After that year, I came back expecting to return right where I left off. Scoring the game-winning goal and celebrating with my teammates as I had pictured every night as I lay bed ridden with my casted foot elevated. But what really happened was all the more rewarding. I learned how to be a good teammate, how to lift up those around me even when I wasn’t at my best. I learned that you’re not always going to be at the top of your game on the ice, but persevering and finding a new role is just as important. The ultimate reward though, was when I realized, in this last 2014-2015 season, that everyone around me was doing the same thing.
Harvard women’s ice hockey does have a history of excellence, but what I hope is left from the 2015 senior class is not just the tradition of winning, but also the lesson that no matter how your role changes, no matter who fills the roster spots, Harvard women’s ice hockey has a history of resilience - a history of coming back from devastating injury and then playing in the National Championship game; a history of years of rehab and treatment that ends in a Beanpot Championship and League trophies hoisted above your head.
The traditions I will reminisce about in the years to come are endless; Rockstar, Fine Party, “We’re not gonna take it,” “It’s the night before the night before” and the ever so miserable “Five mile run,” to name a few. But the most important tradition to me that I’ll truly miss the most is the camaraderie that comes from overcoming personal and team adversity together, and knowing that you are not alone.
The resilience quote from my wall might be worn and it will eventually be tossed away one day with the trash, but the people I met here during this journey, the lessons they taught me, and the pride I feel for having gone through this institution as a Harvard athlete will stay with me forever. What a ride. Thank you, Harvard.