Hall of Fame
Hall of Fame
Harvard Athletic Achievements
Hall of Fame
Remembering Harvard Athletics
I came to Harvard one early fall day in 1974 to matriculate directly from Las Palmas, Canary Islands, Spain, never having been in the United States before. My visual image of Harvard was derived from having seen the movie “Love Story.” I had already lived in several countries and traveled extensively on my own so I was used to taking care of myself and adapting to new environments and cultures. I enjoyed Harvard from the beginning. One of the reasons for coming to the United States to go to college was to be a student-athlete. In Europe elite sports are generally not organized around universities. I did not understand that the level and commitment to sport varies so much from university to university. When I was accepted to Harvard it was the only place I thought of attending, and I made the right choice.
Back to athletics at Harvard. As a freshman I played golf, soccer, and briefly played hockey, but switched to intramural hockey. It was impossible to do all three at the same time. As a freshman one of the first people I met was a co-captain, Tom Yellin, who, now 24 years later, is still a good friend and a very good player. That year I initially played poorly and almost didn’t make the team. I also played center forward on the freshman soccer team until I informed the coach that I had to take two weeks off to prepare for and play in the World Amateur Gold Championship in the Dominican Republic. On my return I became a substitute. My commitment to soccer wasn’t enough for the coaches. Being naturally optimistic and ambitious I also decided to take five courses. It became difficult to do everything.
The following spring started well as I started as the #1 player and remained there for 4 years. Harvard that year probably had the best team it has had in the last 30 or more years. It was a lot of fun, we won the Ivy League Championship with myself winning the individual title. We went to the NCAA finals as a team. I also won the Greater Boston Championship. I spent my summer playing tournament golf in Europe and returned for my sophomore year where I repeated as Ivy League Champion and at the Greater Boston Championships and went to the NCAA finals as an individual. I played in the East-West All-Star matches and was made an all-American. I had a similar year as a junior, but by then my interest had started to decline a little bit. Instead of playing tournament golf that summer, I worked in a bank and for a U.S. brokerage firm in Europe working from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. (4:00 p.m. U.S. time when the stock market closes). That was the beginning of the end of my relative competitiveness as an athlete. In my senior year other interests became relatively more important. I spent a lot of time with investing and trading activities, getting a job on Wall Street, etc.
During my years at Harvard, I was an enthusiastic participant in several intramural sports and to this day I am very active competing in as many as 10 sports. I very much enjoy competition, the camaraderie of sport and the process of training and preparing for competition. It teaches lifelong lessons and disciplines applicable to all facets of life. It is healthy for the body and probably the best stress management technique for the life we lead at the end of the second millennium. My years at Harvard were enjoyable, though I was much less academically motivated than during my high school years. Partly as a result, I have come to the conclusion that the greatness of Harvard lies in its students. To this day I often hear of the achievements of contemporaries of mine in many diverse fields and it never seems to end. To me the people I met at Harvard, the camaraderie and common purpose of all the students and student life is the highlight and strength of Harvard. Athletics is an area which exemplifies it since you live with teammates working hard to improve your skills, work as a team, compete, and become friends in the process.
The secret to Harvard’s successful future is to continue to attract the highest caliber individuals as students. In business “brand” is very much in vogue and Harvard has the greatest global educational brand and we have to continue to nurture it.