David Boyum '85
Squash - Hall of Fame Class of 2009
Harvard Athletic Achievements
A fine technician and master strategist, David Boyum excelled as one of Harvard’s premiere squash players of the 1980s. In his four years at Harvard, David amassed a nearly perfect dual competition record, wining over thirty matches and losing only once. His consistent play and tremendous work ethic helped earn his team three Ivy League and National Championships in 1983, 1984, and 1985.
David also received national recognition for his individual achievements on the court. From 1982-1985, David was honored as both an All Ivy League and All America selection four times, becoming only the third player in Harvard Squash’s rich history to receive such an honor.
Remembering Harvard Athletics
Psychologists and cognitive scientists tell us that the more powerful an experience, the more lasting the memory. It’s now twenty four years since I played squash at Harvard, and the memories haven’t faded.
I twice switched majors at Harvard. I lived in three different locations—Wigglesworth, North House, and off campus on Oxford Street. Roommates changed. Professors changed.
The constant was Harvard Squash. Every year, through the ups and downs of college life, Harvard Squash was there. Every day, even in the off-season, Harvard Squash was there.
The constancy wasn’t tiresome. It was invaluable. The afternoon pilgrimage to Hemenway Gym, a third-rate facility with a first-rate history, provided needed structure to my Harvard existence, as well as the comfort of routine. My team members and coaches were a surrogate family. Competition and the continual effort to improve my game offered a great and never-ending challenge.
And the cast of characters at Hemenway was unforgettable, starting with Barney, Hemenway’s afternoon custodian, the surliest person I have ever known, and Damian, the mentally handicapped evening custodian, who was as good-tempered as Barney was bad-tempered. My teammates ranged from Will Lobkowicz ’84, a hysterically funny Czech prince, to Mike Mack ’85, whose earnestness rivaled Joe Friday’s. Coaches included Jack Barnaby ’32, whose charming enthusiasm for the game was matched only by his idealization of its past—Jack literally believed that the caliber of top squash hadn’t improved since the 1920s. T-shirts made for Jack’s 80th birthday party said, “The older we get, the better we were.”
There were regular guests at Hemenway, invited to practice with the teams. Among these were Bill Kaplan ’77, a professional blackjack player, and Derrick Niederman, a Yale graduate who one year gave a filibuster-length speech disparaging Princetonians at our team’s year-end banquet. And then there were the faculty who played squash on Hemenway’s courts. Two seemed to show up every day: the immaculately dressed Harvey Mansfield ’53, who always looked out of place in Hemenway’s dingy locker room, and Phil Areeda ’51, whose paunch confirmed his reputation as a gastronome. Areeda, it was said, traveled weekly to New York to dine at Lutèce.
Sadly, Areeda is no longer with us. Nor is Lutèce. Hemenway is not used for Harvard Squash anymore and was recently renovated beyond recognition. But Harvard Squash endures, creating lasting memories for new generations of Harvard students.