And A Year Goes By.

It is hard to believe that a year has sped by so fast. Only yesterday, I was setting my first tentative steps onto Spangler Lawn. Since then there have been many memories to cherish, a number of which I owe to the HBS Rugby Club (HBS RFC).

My reason for joining was quite simple – it was the first club to send an email out! It turns out that the e-mail was sent by none other than our indefatigable captain, Carl “Lavos” Lavin (OE). The first few practice sessions woke me up to the reality that the club was more than a collection of rugby-loving people – this was a club that took its task very seriously. Members like Pascal “Robodean” Ambrosi (OF) drove themselves and other club members to the very hilt at every practice session and “easy” was a word that did not seem to exist in the vocabulary of the Club. Lavos was an inspiration in himself – as every member of the HBS RFC will testify, he drove himself the most. His belief in leading by example was apparent in every drill and playbook move that he made us rehearse over and over again.

Later in the year, I also made the acquaintance of the other members of the club – Oliver “Harbus” Corlette (OC), Andrew “Wheels” Heffernan (OJ), Jonathan “I-can-outshout-you” Krautmann (OJ), Josh “Ram-Man” Bresler (OE), and a host of others who were as much a part of the spirit and joi-de-vivre of HBS RFC as those named above.

The HBS RFC is probably one of the most active clubs when it comes to its participation outside the HBS bubble. From the Wharton Tournament to the London Business School match-up and finally to the Duke World MBA Rugby Championship, the Club proves why it stars in the Harbus ever so often. I was indeed privileged to play with such a dedicated and talented group of players. The Club attracts not just MBA students; Renaud “The Cowboy” Aubric, Wei Wen “Ball Lost” Loh, Bill “Count-my-injuries” Soares, Chris “Capitalist” Dervan, Gilles “GG” Raveaud, Rod “Hot?” Thompson, Brandon “BB” Bentley, Ben Handzo, Gavin Neary, Jeff Todd, Jorge O’Hara, Matt Ashton and Saul “Big Cat” De La Guardia hail from across the graduate schools, with each putting in their pound of flesh to make the HBS RFC a force to reckon with.

Alas, as with all good things, our tour-de-force had to come to an end. After splendid performances at Wharton and LBS, where we came away with the top honors, HBS RFC ended the season in 3rd place at the Duke World MBA Rugby Championship. While we retained our position as the top US B-school, as we were the only US team to make it to the semi-finals, the Irish boys from Smurfit stole a close fought semi-final from us in the dying minutes of the second half. However, we came back with our heads held high, having played our hearts out over the weekend.

The last social was held at the HBS RFC’s favorite haunt, Uno’s on JFK, with team jerseys being handed out to those who had earned them over the year, and repeated renditions of Rugby songs, handed down, as tradition has it, over generations of players.

For those looking to join the team next year, we have the perfect opportunity coming up – a series of Rugby games starting 3 pm on the IM fields this Wednesday, 10th May 2006. And of course, Rugby would be incomplete without post-match drinks at Shays’!

As I look to another year of Rugby, it is with mixed feelings – a bit of sadness for teammates who will be sorely missed both on and off the field, and a lot of excitement in anticipation of more close match-ups and hard-fought games that next year is sure to bring. Go Ruggers!