Written Senior Perspectives - Garrett Rupp, Baseball

Written Senior Perspectives - Garrett Rupp, Baseball

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.

Garrett Rupp, Baseball
Hometown: Phoenix, Ariz.
Concentration: Biomedical Engineering
House Affiliation: Leverett

My experiences on the Harvard baseball team are irreplaceable and completely unique to any other moments I have had at Harvard.  The relationships I have developed have been so important to me in getting me through the hard times that I have come upon.  I have come a long way from when I was a struggling freshman with a peck tear and little confidence or success on the mound.  I’ve had great outings, terrible innings, exhausted mornings in Palmer-Dixon, frustrated nights in the bubble, horrible whether, beautiful games, and wins and losses.  But in the end, what I remember most vividly is the times that I’ve laughed with my teammates and the moments at war with Yale or Dartmouth which I’ll cherish forever.  This season has been the culmination of four years of transformation in Harvard Baseball.  We have changed from playing to avoid the pity of defeat to playing for the fun of winning.  We are a dominant and resistant bunch of “Bad Boys.” It may seem like a joke motto to outsiders but this ideology of playing with our hair on fire and giving all for our brothers has lead to a drastic change in the baseball program here, and in my mentality as a player and human.

Our coaches during my four years have been truly unique.  They care deeply about us as players in a way that others on campus don’t.  Through the pain of being injured, or not traveling, or losing, or throwing up after morning conditioning in the stadium; we had Deck to bring us back and keep us focused on why we do it all.  I initially came to Harvard to be an athlete and get an education.  But I quickly realized that life at Harvard was a lot of work.  As my career progressed I realized that my dreams of playing Major League Baseball were not going to become a reality.  I needed some foundation, some inspiration, something to drive and guide me every day.  I found this inspiration in medicine.  In the work that I was doing in the classroom and the hours of volunteer work at the hospital, and my research, I fell in love with surgery.  I realized that I could be a pro one day like I had dreamed, just my field would be the operating room.

The biggest thing that I want to take with me into life beyond Harvard is the resiliency and adaptability that I have gained over the past four years with Harvard baseball.  Scheduling, playing in the bubble, and weather challenge our entire program and build adaptability into our lives.  I have learned to roll with the punches and focus on nothing more than my job.  On the field specifically, this resiliency has come to pay off because of my mental attitude that I have taken on in the past two years.  Being a bullpen pitcher means many things; one of these things is being self-sufficient and adaptable to whatever is thrown my way.  No matter what situation I am thrown into (bases loaded no outs, down 10 runs, up one run), I need a consistent attitude and iron will.  My coaches instilled the mentality of competing regardless of adversity.  Teammates and I have jokingly yelled “compete!” in the past because this is the message that has been preached almost 24/7.  But I found myself saying it so often in jest that it actually started to affect me both on the field and in other parts of my life.  I realized that I would have a terrible day ahead of classes, tests, interviews, snow, etc. and all I could tell myself was “just compete”.  I realized that having the attitude of a bullpen pitcher is the attitude that I need in life at large.  No matter the circumstance, all you can do is compete and the rest isn’t up to you.         

I am going to be a great surgeon because of the lessons that I have experienced while “across the river”, not from studying biomedical engineering.  I have learned to overcome obstacles, work with teammates, and lead by example.  Depending on others while being accountable to those same people is the core of the ethos that our team created this year.  Dedicating myself to something bigger has been instilled in me at Harvard and this will pay dividends in my future endeavors.

For the opportunity to be a small part of the transformation of the Harvard baseball program, the Harvard community, and my teammates’ and coaches’ lives, thank you.