Hall of Fame
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Harvard Athletic Achievements
Hall of Fame
Remembering Harvard Athletics
When my family first met Coach Kathy Delaney-Smith on a recruiting visit to our family home in the Minneapolis suburbs, there was wide-reaching conversation, many jokes and laughter, and of course copious amounts of food and drink (no other way when you visit a Bosnian family). This dynamic had much to do with the awe-inspiring, endearing, and relatable Coach Kathy. My parents, who Kathy would repeatedly tell me are the reason I was recruited, and I felt right at home that September 1999 evening. When Kathy departed, my dad said to me, “you have to go to Harvard.”
That visit from Coach Kathy foreshadowed what Harvard Athletics came to be for me – a home. For someone whose family left our war-torn home in Bosnia searching for a better life, moving every year for 8 years across 4 different countries, this was something fundamental. Beyond the presence of my incredibly resilient, resourceful, and nurturing parents, and my brother, who was my idol and first role model, athletic and otherwise, all else was in constant flux during those years. I remember sitting in Harvard Square upon my arrival and wondering, now all on my own, what Harvard would be like for someone like me. I learned quickly that the Harvard Athletics community would make me feel right at home.
Many wonderful people and groups created this feeling at Harvard for me. First and foremost, Kathy, the force that she is, remarkable and inspiring for all that she has accomplished, but at the same time real and relatable. Stacey Connors, Trisha Brown, and the other assistant coaches all left a mark on me as a person, athlete, and teammate in different ways. My teammates – my first and longest standing friends at Harvard, some of my closest even today, defined my Harvard experience and truly made it what it was.
Then there were the alumnae I remember looking up to in such awe (and still do) – leaders across numerous fields but also wonderful people that I look forward to seeing every year at our alumnae weekend. Our trainers, superfans, photographer, and even world-renowned professors who sat on our bench and supported our team game in and game out. There were my roommates and friends making the windy, icy trek across the river to watch our games – including my eventual husband Ben ’04, who would journey not just across the river but beyond to away games and then to France after Commencement as I followed my professional playing dreams. The list goes on – in all, I was surrounded by an incredible community of people that created a place for me to call home.
Now I love to bring my little girl and my little boy to the Lavietes gym. Every time I walk in, memories flood back, and I once again feel as if I never left (even if the house has been renovated since). I can still picture my teammates warming up, hear the familiar sounds of the gym, see my mom and dad sitting in the stands. I am incredibly grateful for the Harvard Athletics experience. I hope my children will one day have the chance to be surrounded by the kind of community that Harvard Athletics is, and have a similar place to call home for themselves.