Maggie Hart Stebbins ‘84
Lacrosse - Hall of Fame Class of 1999
Harvard Athletic Achievements
Few would guess that Maggie first took up lacrosse as a Harvard freshman. She was the leading scorer and captain of the 1984 squad, which went undefeated in the Ivy League and took its fourth straight Ivy title. She was an All-American, All-Ivy, Ivy League Player of the Year and winner of the Radcliffe College Alumnae Association Award for the top female athlete. Maggie went on to play for the U.S. national team.
Remembering Harvard Athletics
I have to begin by saying that I was absolutely stunned to receive the Varsity Club’s letter informing me of my selection to the Hall of Fame. When I look at the list of people who have been inducted, especially the women’s lacrosse players like Annie Velie, Francesca den Hartog, and Maureen Finn, I feel truly honored.
It surprises me to be recognized for my accomplishments in lacrosse because it was always so rewarding simply to play the sport. I can still remember how it felt to walk out onto the field and play. There was complete freedom out there – no boundaries, no limits to what my teammates and I could do. I loved the game from the very beginning, and the reality of my four years on the Harvard team far surpassed anything I had ever dreamed.
I will always be grateful to Carole Kleinfelder for giving me the opportunity to play lacrosse. When I joined her program, Harvard had one of the best teams in the country. And I was completely clueless. I couldn’t throw, I didn’t know the positions, I didn’t know the rules. But Carole took me on the team anyway, invested an incredible amount of her time and talent in teaching me the spot, and then gave me the freedom to play. Lacrosse provided some of the most rewarding and memorable experiences of my time at Harvard, and I’ll always be thankful to Carole for making it possible.
I’ve been lucky throughout my life to have had coaches and teachers who taught me lessons that strengthened my character as well as my athletic skills. I had some great teachers like Vincent Cordova, who challenged me to go beyond what came easily, and David Barney, my swimming coach, who convinced me to try new things, even when I knew it was going to hurt. That education is far more valuable to me now than anything I ever learned in a classroom.
I am also grateful to a group of people to whom I owe a great deal – my older sisters, Joan Marie, Ellen, and Christiane, and my brother, Mike. It has taken me nearly thirty-eight years to realize how much they have contributed to the ease with which I have lived my life. They were all such stellar athletes, good students, and great people that they cleared a path that I was able to fly down. I was simply sucked into the vacuum they were, and my life would be much different had I not had their example to follow.
And finally, I want to thank my loving and generous parents, Fred and Joan Hart, for their unwavering support, and the countless other gifts they have given me. I wish they had been able to see me play lacrosse more often, to share the joy that they made possible. Even when my parents couldn’t be there in person, I always knew that they were there with me, in spirit, every time I stepped onto the field.