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.
Melissa Lacro, Softball
Hometown: Las Vegas, Nev.
House Affiliation: Dunster
I’ve always been better at knowing what I don’t want as opposed to what I do want. Perhaps the biggest exception to this is knowing that I’ve always wanted to play college softball. But even as that dream became more and more of a reality, I could never clearly remember how I pinpointed where I wanted to go. I knew I wanted to go to a high-academic college, but when Harvard and the Ivy League came up in conversation with my coaches at the time, I still remember the exact words of 15-year-old me who had just started the long, grueling recruiting process: “No way, that’s way too intense for me.”
Well, as my athletic career comes to a close, 21-year-old me has a lot to say to that 15-year-old because she couldn’t have been more wrong. Most of the worries I thought I would have were almost immediately dispelled by a group of 20+ girls who I could always count on to have my back and be there for me regardless of whether we were on or off the field. Sure, attending Harvard and being a student-athlete there would be an experience like no other, in both positive and negative aspects. The work load would be much more rigorous than what I faced in high school and I would be in a brand new environment almost 3,000 miles away from home, but I never doubted that I would have the support to get me through the new and exciting challenges I would face.
One of the best examples of this stems from something that I might consider to be one of the worst struggles I faced while here: during my freshmen year, I tore my ACL in the middle of our home opener, leading to about a year and a half of recovery after two different surgeries. While this was definitely a low point in my time at college, what got me through was everything my teammates, coaches, and trainers did to continue to support me through this experience and afterwards. But perhaps my favorite memory from this experience is the night that me and the other four members of my class sat in my common room in Wigglesworth eating Chinese take-out from Yenching (an amazing Chinese restaurant that is sadly no longer in Harvard Square).
Moments like these are what remind me of the plethora of things that made playing for Harvard softball so great. There’s the grueling bus rides and the four-hour practices in the bubble, but also that triumphant feeling when all that hard work earns us a series sweep. It’s also the dinners in Dunster for late meal, Grey’s Anatomy on Thursday nights, and giant study sessions in Stone Hall basement. It’s the knowledge that you are surrounded by amazing women who are going to support you through thick and thin, both on and off the field. It’s moments like these that embody why Harvard Softball will have a special place in my part for years to come, and how incredibly thankful I am towards the coaching staff, my teammates and everyone else involved with Harvard Softball for allowing me to have such a special experience.