The 2016 Senior Perspectives is the 11th 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 2016 Senior Perspectives, click here.
Rohan Ramnath, Men's Golf, Team Captain
Hometown: Weston, Fla.
Concentration: Applied Mathematics
House Affiliation: Dunster
My afternoons during the fall of sophomore year were occupied by Statistics 110, a rigorous course in probability. On one particular afternoon, Professor Joe Blitzstein, eccentric but engaging, was set to lecture on “story proofs,” a method to intuitively understand complex mathematical ideas. After four hours of practice in the morning, I was strapping in for a long afternoon in the classroom when Professor Blitzstein slipped in this quote from Isabel Allende, a renowned Chilean author: “What is truer than truth? The story.” I can’t explain why this phrase stuck with me for the last two and half years, but it resonates as I look back at my four years as a member of the Harvard golf team. The truth is that I am the senior captain about to compete in my final Ivy League Championship; the story of how I got here since I received admission, however, is the most meaningful narrative in my life.
Harvard golf gave me the opportunity to travel and play some of the greatest courses in the world, and those trips are among my fondest memories with the team. Growing up watching the likes of Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson play incredible golf courses, I never thought I would have the chance to set foot on those famed venues myself. This program gave me the chance to test my game not only against the challenges of the best courses, but also against history. Last spring break, I walked the grounds of Pebble Beach and visualized the shots that Tiger hit en route to a 15 shot victory in the 2000 U.S. Open. The year before, I competed in the Ivy League Championship at Baltusrol where Phil won his only PGA Championship. I remember these courses and moments from watching on television, and I am so thankful to Harvard golf for providing the opportunity to re-experience those memories in an unforgettable fashion.
These memories, however, would be incomplete without the people that shared them with me because the relationships that I formed as a member of Harvard golf are ones that I will carry for many years to come. My teammates and I are bonded by a love for the game and an unrelenting pursuit of success, but through this connection we have formed close friendships that connect us beyond the sport. On a campus that has many outlets for social interaction, it is often hard to find a group that one can consistently rely on. I know I can always count on the members of my team to help me through the lows and cherish with me the highs. As my role on the team has evolved, I have been able to give back and mentor my younger teammates as my predecessors did for me; this cycle of giving creates a special environment in which underclassmen always have a support system during their transition to college and upperclassmen are tasked with the responsibility of establishing a constructive culture. As I leave Harvard golf, I know that this culture will continue and the team is as strong as ever.
My experiences with the golf team spurred my growth as a golfer, teammate, and citizen in every dimension. Much of this growth can be attributed to the fantastic coaching staff. Our director, Fred Schernecker, is an inspiring leader who challenges us to become better. He has been invaluable in helping me ask the right questions about any situation and guiding me towards a fulfilling career path. My improvement as a golfer, however, is largely due to the influence of Kevin Rhoads, our head coach. From the day I walked in as a freshman, Kevin pushed me to become better physically, mentally, and technically in all aspects of the game. Ivy League golfers often struggle to improve during their time in college because of the pressures of school and weather, but I (and many of my teammates) have improved every year, and it would not have been possible without the influence of Kevin and our assistant, Curtis. While the coaching staff sets the tone for the team as a whole, I derive much of my inspiration from my teammates. They are thoughtful, talented, and motivated, and I learn from them every day how to improve as a person. My teammates are a collection of amazing individuals that never cease to dazzle, and I consider myself so lucky to have been a witness. The truth is that I will miss those hours spent at Palmer Dixon pushing ourselves to the limit; those tournaments where we leave everything on the course; those van rides in which we roll with laughter; and those sunsets on the course with my best friends. But hey, it makes one heck of a story.