Hometown: Cairo, Egypt
I’m not sure this essay will do any justice to what the past four years have meant to me.
Coming from Cairo, Egypt, a place different from Cambridge in a plethora of ways, I had no idea what to expect from my four years here. I remember getting accepted to Harvard (the best call I will ever receive) and people telling me, the best four years of your life are coming up, or, you will grow and develop in ways you have no idea of yet. Only now though, reflecting back, do I understand how true those words really are.
First, there are many thank you’s that I owe to people that have helped me be where I am today. One that I particularly wanted to include was to my coaches: Mike, Hameed, Luke and Beth. You have no idea how fortunate and grateful I am to have had you as my mentors these past four years. You all have been role models to me in how you handled everything for our program.
The dedication and commitment you show day in and day out is outstanding; you make it seem so easy to do. Even though the program has had a tremendous amount of success under your leadership (Three Ivy League Titles and two National Championships over the past four years), what impresses me the most is how humble you all are about it. You are never the first to bring up the successes you’ve helped bring to the program, and when asked, you’re all prudent to first praise all of the people who work behind the scenes before acknowledging your own contributions.
So here I am, doing my best to put your lessons to good use. I hope that one day, I too, can master all the tremendous qualities you have taught me.
Furthermore, coming in as a first-year, I thought that most of what I would learn would come from the institution and what it would have to offer. Although, being a part of the Harvard culture was definitely quite the experience in itself, it had never crossed my mind that I would learn so much from my fellow teammates.
Part of why I learned so much here in the States was because I was immersed into a new way of living that I didn’t even know existed. Moreover, the fact that squash is such an international sport (almost half of our team is from outside the United States) opened my eyes to so many interesting customs, habits and experiences that I’d never known prior to arriving on campus. Some of the many interesting ones that come to mind are
Channy Hong’s military experience in South Korea, Sean Hughes’ 50 different startup ideas and Liam Waterous’ ski trips up in Calgary, Canada. To me, being part of such an internationally diverse group of people and competing with them at the highest level in my sport is an experience of a lifetime.
I am humbled to have been a part of Harvard Athletics and specifically Harvard Squash. I can confidently say I have had the best four years of my life and have truly grown and developed in ways I had no idea of. As I move on, I realize that carrying the name of Harvard Squash is a tremendous responsibility.
I am positive that what I have learned on and off the court will allow me to do just that and represent Harvard Squash with the respect and honor it deserves.
Sincerely, Saadeldin Abouaish