Written Senior Perspective - Sam Goldman, Wrestling

Written Senior Perspective - Sam Goldman, Wrestling

The 2019 Senior Perspectives is the 14th 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.

Sam Goldman
Lowell House
Harvard Wrestling
Concentration: Computer Science

When I came into Harvard, I was unsure if I wanted to wrestle at the collegiate level. Wrestling had been central to my high school experience, challenging me and promoting an education through sport. But I questioned whether another four years spent drilling similar takedowns, continuing to skip the occasional meal, and stepping out on the mat for competition would be worthwhile. I worried that the marginal benefits of playing the same game had diminished, that I would be limiting myself from exploring the myriad of ways to spend a Harvard undergraduate education.

Four years later, reflecting back on the metaphorical mountain my classmates and I scaled, I can say with certainty that I am forever indebted to my experience as a Harvard wrestler and to my coaches and teammates for the opportunity. Directly compared to my prior experience in the sport of wrestling, wrestling at Harvard on a Division I stage quickly showed me that my concept of “elite” was miscalculated; college wrestling was a different animal entirely in its difficulty, level of competition, and intensity of training. Naturally, this experience helped to mold me by continuing to instill the virtues of humility, stoicism in the face of adversity, and resilience that can only come from months on end of getting physically pummeled all in order to make marginal gains. Harvard wrestling permanently revoked any concept I had of a ceiling for improvement; the summit was miles higher than where I thought it stood. Not only that, but the same limitations on time and energy that I had feared, brought their own lessons. These constraints forced me to confidently choose my academic passions, friends, and communities, to narrow in on the most important parts of my life. These real and daily decisions forced me to grow into the person that my coaches and teammates believed I could be, a person with an appreciation and preparation for life.

The grind of wrestling did at times feel Sisyphean, like we, as a collective team, were pushing the same boulder up the hill each day. We ran the same stadium steps, drilled the same takedowns, and pushed ourselves to our limits daily, only to repeat the following day. But just as Camus saw Sisyphus as happy, we filled each day and struggle to the top with comradery, laughter, friendships and memories that I know will last a lifetime. Wrestling was the cornerstone of my undergrad experience and I couldn’t be more grateful.