Last weekend, culminating of a long and arduous season, the Harvard Business School Rugby Team participated in the World MBA Championship Tournament at Duke University. We all trained hard for this event. We promised ourselves to settle for nothing less than a victory as nothing else would appease our ambition and resolve. This time, however, rugby gods were against us, and after a barrage of torrential rain, the playing pitch turned into a sea of mud. Even though we advanced to the semi-finals, the games were suspended with no winner selected. Yet, despite our unfulfilled hunger for a championship, we left this tournament with one lasting and treasured impression.
Not often does one have a chance to redefine the boundaries of those sacred notions of camaraderie, courage, and determination. As vain human beings, we are reluctant to admit somebody else’s greatness. It takes both profound and trying events to impress us enough, so we may be willing not only to acknowledge a new model of bravery and dedication but to accept it as our own. Well, friends, last Sunday, on that muddy pitch in North Carolina, while playing against Thunderbird and Wharton, you made us do exactly that.
Fighting until exhaustion, you demonstrated an unsurpassed commitment and valor. You spilled your blood, your tears and your sweat, all for the love of the game and for the glory of Harvard University. You expanded the limits of man’s bravery and purpose, teaching us something that even the best study case never would. And for that we salute you.
We had a great year together. From the green pitches of Ireland, through the sand of the New England beach-playing field, to the Waterloo battle at Duke University, we respected your leadership on and off the field. We appreciated your commitment to those 6 a.m. practices, even if some of us occasionally failed to show up. We certainly absorbed your appreciation of the finest breweries of Dublin. And now, gentlemen, as you are departing our splendid institution, we want to assure you that your legacy will live on. You are leaving HBS, but you also are leaving behind a strong sense of commitment and solidarity – we are all proud to be members of the Harvard Business School Rugby Team. And we will win at Duke next year. For you, for ourselves, for Harvard.
Farewell and best of luck, friends, we admire your team spirit. Last Sunday, we all lived through the magic on that mud-covered field at Duke where you showed what a brave heart really means. Those of us that played there alongside you will never forget it. We pray that such a moment will be repeated some day. This truly was your finest hour.