Earlier this month, Delia Zanoschi and Tum Preugpaibul (RCs) announced the winners of the inaugural HBS exceptional athlete awards, an initiative they started this year to recognize the best athletes at HBS. This week, Delia and Tum interviewed HBS Class of 2016 exceptional athlete winner Ben Gettinger.
BEN GETTINGER: SQUASH
SECTION A, NEW YORK, NY, USA
What are the best memories you have of squash?
Playing squash was central to my college experience. I really liked the training. We would train every day—twice a day sometimes—and travel around the country. It was a very intense environment, but I loved it. So when you say squash I go back to those years being on the team and training hard.
What was your magic moment?
My last college match against Brown University, at home. Squash venues are traditionally small, but the crowd at that match was huge. All of my friends were there, and it was really fun playing in front of a big crowd. When I stepped on the court and had 100-150 fans cheering me on…that was pretty cool.
Who is your idol?
In terms of sports, I really like Rafael Nadal. I’ve come to respect his work ethic and dedication. Also, every other player smashes their racket when they make a mistake. Rafael chooses not to; he never throws his racket in frustration.
What was the biggest challenge you had to face and how did you manage it?
The hardest physical challenge I’ve had to face was hiking “The 50.” Students start on the Dartmouth campus and hike for 50 straight miles—without stopping—on the Appalachian Trail. I did this in July 2009 with 3 of my close friends. We trudged for 26 hours straight, putting on head lamps at night. It rained, a LOT. I was literally falling asleep while I was hiking. On Day 2, the sun came out and we realized we had 20 miles left to go…that was a terrible experience. But we pushed each other to continue forward. When we finally reached the end, we were on our third pairs of wool socks, and we had blisters everywhere. We were exhausted, but triumphant.