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.
Scott Peters, Football
Hometown: Atlanta, Ga.
House Affiliation: Cabot
Coming into my freshman year at Harvard, I wasn’t sure how long I would end up being a collegiate athlete. Harvard never recruited me, but I reached out to the football coaches about playing for Harvard after I was accepted by the university. After a lot of back-and-forth communication with the coaches, defensive backs coach Ryan Crawford told me in June 2012 that I had a spot on the team. I was ecstatic, but I was also afraid that, as a walk-on, I wouldn’t be able to keep my spot.
Often I’ve wondered why the coaches allowed me to walk-on. While I considered myself to be a decent football player, I sure had a long way to go before I would be able to compete for playing time. So from day one, every day at practice I was fighting to keep my spot on the team. I knew that if the roster size got too big, the walk-ons would be the first to go, so I had to find a way to catch up to my recruited teammates.
Eventually, thanks to coaches and teammates that were dedicated to helping me improve, I was able to find my way onto the field and eventually start at free safety during my junior and senior seasons. I never expected to even play during my time at Harvard, so I was extremely grateful just to step onto the field. I vividly remember my first play in a collegiate game during my sophomore year, when I got to go in on kick-off after our starting safety cramped up. Just the feeling of playing one play had made the whole experience worth it, and I have retained that gratefulness ever since.
At power-conference schools with really big football programs, most walk-ons never get a chance to see the field. They are career scout-team players, and there are even horror stories of the walk-ons staying in separate locker rooms. I’m not sure how much of this is true, but this is the stigma of being a walk-on in Division I football. However, what I’ve experienced at Harvard has been the very opposite of that stigma. From the first day of practice, I was treated as an equal by my coaches and teammates. And for that, I wish to express gratefulness to the Harvard football program for allowing me to be a part of the team for the past four years. I have never worked with more driven and dedicated people, and the experience of winning three-straight championships together has been one of the greatest joys of my entire life.