Hall of Fame
Hall of Fame
Harvard Athletic Achievements
Hall of Fame
Remembering Harvard Athletics
Arriving at Harvard for preseason back in August 2001 was quite a culture shock for me. I'm Zimbabwean, born and raised, so I was a long way from home. However, the culture shock was not quite as extreme as the Harvard Crimson put it in one of their articles...which began with Watching her plane touch down and Boston slip into view before her freshman year, the Harvard field hockey team’s Shelley Maasdorp had no idea what to expect. Alone in a brand-new country with her family stranded halfway around the globe, Maasdorp had left behind all that she had known and loved and now only saw empty tarmac.
That was a bit on the dramatic side, my parents weren’t exactly stranded, they were at home, and in terms of leaving behind all I had known and loved…my brother was a junior in Dunster House!
But arriving for preseason was the first time I’d met any of the team or coaches. I had been recruited long distance. Again, given the Zimbabwean thing. During the application process I was asked to submit video footage of myself playing field hockey. But I’d snapped my ACL at the start of my senior year of high school, so I wasn’t actually playing any field hockey at the time of applying. I had to stitch together a collage of random video clips that I happened to have from my parents videoing some of my games from the year before. And submit that video with my application along with a note that basically said ‘I promise I’m decent’….
Anyway, I arrive on campus on day one of pre season. A bit nervous, a lot shy. And I meet My coach, Sue Caples, for the first time, she walks over to me and the first thing she says to me is ‘Huh, I thought you were taller’ ….. okkkk
I had quite a different playing style to the rest of the team when I first arrived so Coach Caples had her hands full with me at the beginning. She summed it up quite nicely when asked to give a comment to the Crimson about this new player she had. She said “she’s a great surprise asset …the opposition never know what she’s gonna do …. But actually then again neither do we”
Thank you to my parents who were such amazing fans and consistent supporters of mine since I picked up a hockey stick at a young age. They were so consistent in their support in fact that I’ve got the moment that I snapped my ACL on video — Best home video ever, thanks mum.
But also, it is thanks to my mum being so disciplined with making me do my Physiotherapy and rehab back in 2000 that I was able to walk onto Jordan field in 2001 with absolutely no knee issues and give it everything i had.
My brother insisted that he be included in my speech and to thank him …. For what I’m not entirely sure but, thank you to my brother?
The family that I left stranded half way around the globe were always with me in spirit during my years at Harvard, but the Harvard field hockey team became my family on campus. I loved every minute of being part of that team and have life long friends and amazing memories from it. It was and always will have a very special place in my heart.
I thank the Varsity Club for the true honour that it is to be inducted into the Hall of Fame tonight. I will carry that with pride my whole life.