The 2018 Senior Perspectives is the 13th 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.
Dani Krzyszczyk, Women's Ice Hockey
Hometown: Winnipeg, Manitoba
Concentration: Psychology - Cognitive Neuroscience & Evolution
House Affiliation: Leverett
Looking at the faces of the seniors my freshman year, I remember thinking to myself how lucky I was to be at Harvard. Making it to the national championship game was incredibly special, but what I didn’t realize was that it wasn’t special because of the wins, it was special because of the individuals wearing the H.
Going into my senior year I knew that my freshman self was right. I had no idea if I would be able to wear the crimson jersey ever again as I severely injured my foot in January and then in August was told I needed a second surgery. With all the uncertainty, I had a lot of time to reflect on the previous seasons. I was injured a lot, but that didn’t matter. Yes, I would have done anything to wear the jersey every night, but the amazing thing about Harvard Hockey is that no matter your role, you are a part of the family.
After games, whether you were injured or the first star of the game, you are greeted and hugged by every parent and super-fan that was at the game. One game, when my parents weren’t there, I didn’t go up after the game. The next time I saw one of the mom’s, she asked me why I didn’t come up. I said that my parents weren’t there, to which she replied, “I am your family too.” I had only been on the team for two months at this point, but the bond is truly started from the second you step on campus. This is something that I find truly unique about Harvard and is what makes it so special.
Eleven months after my initial foot injury, I was back in the crimson jersey, and playing my first game as a senior. I will never forget putting that jersey on again -- I never wanted to take it off. Sadly, just three weeks later, it was taken away from me due to another injury. This time, I was never going to play for Harvard again. As heartbreaking as this was, I was still able to be around for all of J-term, was doing stats, and anything that I could do for the team for the rest of the season. People have told me that doing those things speaks about who I am as a person, but I disagree with that. Harvard, and more specifically Harvard hockey, has created a family. It truly isn’t about the wins or how much ice time you get, it is about the pranks pulled on the buses or hotels, or the amount of times we try to convince our coaches to watch She’s the Man. These are the memories that I am going to remember about my time as an athlete at Harvard, not how many games I had to watch in the stands doing stats.
Coming in to Harvard, I thought I would play hockey and become a better player, and across the river I would be challenged intellectually. In reality, Harvard Athletics taught me more lessons than any classroom ever could. Looking back at everything, I truly don’t know how I am going to be able to say goodbye to a community that has become my family, but I know the traditions and values that have been instilled in us will keep us together for years to come. I truly cannot thank Harvard Athletics, the friends of Harvard hockey, my coaches, and my teammates for creating a challenging, yet rewarding environment that made Harvard feel like home. And to my parents, I am forever grateful for all the hours you spent driving me to the rink and travelling around North America so that I could play the sport that I love, without your dedication and support, I would have never had these amazing experiences.