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OF Stands Proud in Intramural Soccer Championship

Section OF approached the Intramural Soccer Championship in a good mood. Strong EC teams–OD, OC, OK, and OB–were defeated in previous rounds. Considering how many HBS Soccer Team players were on these teams, OF had a reason to be proud. In addition, in this season, the team demonstrated excellent turnaround management skills–last year the team did not win any games.

As OF’s captain, I had seen some of NI’s players in action and was impressed with their skills, but the game of soccer is not only about individual players. Now, after the game, I hate to admit that the EC would need to assemble its best players to face NI. Perhaps next year the school administration should include one more factor in splitting students into sections–soccer-playing abilities.

The game did not start well for OF. While we were frantically trying to figure out what game we should play, the chaos nearby our goal led to three quick goals. We needed to decide how to cross the “chasm.” The old and presumably wise section was definitely being “disrupted” by their younger friends. I think only at this point did the team realize that they are the best EC section, and they started showing some sharp teeth.

The game turned to be quite intense. It was a classic example of a prisoner’s dilemma. Rather than enjoying the game and demonstrating their great strategic skills in front of their cheerleading audience, the players wouldn’t give chances to the other team and tried to stop them by any means possible. The score at halftime stood at NI 4, OF 2.
OF spent the break trying to figure out what changes should be made to their Operations Strategy. Our first-half business model was definitely faulted, and we needed to Change the Game. My suspicion is that OF’s captain did not get a 1 in LEAD class.

The second half was more or less equal, and the score reflected that. We did not have a choice but to increase “burn rate”–go forward, and that move was effectively utilized by NI’s forwards, who did not hesitate to “pursue an opportunity.” I am sure they will enjoy Entrepreneurial Marketing class next year. As for OF, we still need to learn how to manage “complexity” on the soccer field. The final score was NI 7, OF 4.

No matter the outcome, the players of the OF team did excellent job. They definitely managed to Build a Successfully Sustainable Enterprise. Goalie Wayne Taitt rescued the team several times by diverting a number of dangerous shots. Defensemen David Wright, Conor Bastable, and Mitchell Leiman did a good job stopping NI’s forwards far away from OF’s goal. Marriano Garrasino and I took turns playing sweeper. Forwards Kola Otitoju and Roberto Anker created several good opportunities. OF midfielders Amee Chande, Margaret Howell, David Reinke, and Max Pedro experienced what it’s like to be a middle manager in corporate America. They faced a major problem of Coordinating and Managing Supply Chains–how to align incentives and eliminate inefficiencies among various links of the value chain. This is how tightly soccer interrelated with business in this game. So, soccer players, you came to the right business school.

I also want to thank everyone who came to cheer for us. As an interesting fact, most of them don’t play soccer. This is the power of the section! Go OF! We’ll get back in volleyball and basketball!

December 3, 2001
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