Weeks of indoor practice were rewarded with sun, surf, and Rugby over Presidents’ Day Weekend as the HBS Rugby Football Club took their winter tour to the Bahamas. Twenty-two players used the 4-day weekend as a tune-up for the upcoming MBA World Championships of Rugby at Duke as well as a much-needed break from the world of cases and cold weather. In addition to playing at the Bahamas Football Rugby Union Championship Cup, the men of HBS took time out to “spread the good word of Rugby” in this beautiful island community, hosting social events and volunteering time with charitable causes. Follow along as the trip begins…
Thursday, February 14: Arrival in the Bahamas
Valentine’s Day found the HBS Rugby team en route to Nassau. Spirits ran high as first-years bolted from the BGIE exam to join the gang at Logan for the afternoon flight. Most team members spent the flight studying the playbook; others caught some shuteye in preparation for the long weekend ahead. Brian “Southie” Connell (OK) had gone ahead in the morning to meet with our hosts and arrange the first night’s festivities, and he did not disappoint: upon arrival in the Bahamas, the team was greeted at the airport and escorted to a private party at Nassau’s finest nightclub, The Zoo! Surrounded by friendly Bahamian locals and Rugby fans, the team settled in for rounds at a well-stocked bar of fine mahogany, sampling the superb local brew, Kalik. After closing the place down at 4AM, the revelers moved to the casino (conveniently located adjacent to our five-star hotel) for some gaming action past the break of dawn. As Anthony “Captain” Carango (NA) so vividly remembers the end of the night: “spending 45 minutes walking toward the middle of nowhere in search of our hotel next door to the casino (in the opposite direction) at 7am, first day on the ground.”
Friday, February 15: Rest, Relaxation, and Remembrance
Friday brought a morning of rest, followed by the team’s discovery of a local island delicacy for lunch: spicy grilled chicken sandwiches. This was followed by many leisure activities, including tanning, swimming, exploring the local resorts, and consuming the occasional alcoholic beverage. During the afternoon on the beach, the team made acquaintance with another group on tour – members of the NYPD! Always big supporters of “New York’s Finest”, the HBS Rugby Team made arrangements for a special evening of celebration for their ongoing acts of bravery in one of Nassau’s most popular watering holes, Pirates Pub. Dressed in their finest cocktail attire (led by Dave “My Shirt is Brighter than the Sun” Miller (NB)), the ruggers and NYPD traded toasts and speeches well into the night. Led by Derek “DD” Mendez (ND) with support from Michael “Kiwi” Byrne (Harvard Law), the grand finale from HBS was the delivery of Mendez’ inspirational “Thumbs Up” presentation, which was received with great surprise by NYPD. In response, NYPD offered up their traditional “EAAASY, Killer” invocation. I simply can’t recall a better way to end the night – this reporter locked himself in the hotel room to rest up and prepare for the big events of the following day.
Saturday, February 16: Game On!
A light rain fell on the pitch Saturday morning to soften the warm, green Bahamian turf of Nassau’s Winton Rugby Club. HBS was suited up and on the park to play an invitational match prior to the title game of the Bahamas Football Rugby Union Championship Cup against a squad comprised of the 3rd and 4th place teams. In a country where Rugby makes front page news, the HBS Rugby Team would receive mention in the Nassau Guardian’s Sunday sports section, defeating a combined Cuckoos and Buccaneers team. As local Rugby fans, sports writers and photographers lined the fields during a well attended gameday celebration, HBS recovered from an early try by the Bahamians and rallied on through 80 minutes of Rugby to win 31-19. Editor’s Note: See “Match Recap” in this section for game details. With the victory, HBS improved to 3-0 in international play, including domination of small island nations Bermuda and the Bahamas, as well as Canada. “Man of the Match” honors were bestowed upon John “Hoffy” Hoffman (OJ) and Jorge “Greatest Peruvian Hero” O’Hara (NI). Hoffman received a jersey from the opposite side, while O’Hara had a beer cracked in his honor by Derek Mendez during the post-match drink-up.
Chris “Thin Skin” Brezski (OC) and Mike “Stitches” McLellan (OK) took the requisite trip to the hospital with the aid of a random, charitable young British lady. Brezski apologized repeatedly for getting blood all over her car, and McLellan inquired repeatedly about the potential to acquire drinks and food en route. After several hours in the hospital, Brezski received a large bandage for his head wound for the bargain price of $75. McLellan consumed ample quantities of food and drink in the meantime. However, this trip to the hospital uncovered an opportunity for social service: the team came by to check on Chris after the match and decided to take the opportunity to visit the Children’s Wing. Dozens of smiling young faces were HBS Rugby’s true reward for the day’s victory.
The team then decided to contribute to the local economy, retiring to the casino on a rainy tropical night. After closing down the casino karaoke bar with rousing renditions of “Havah Nagila” and Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline”, HBS Rugby hit the tables once again. While most of the team treaded water at Blackjack and Craps, Kris “Moneybags” Whalen (OF) found himself up enough money to pay for the trip twice over. Who needs CitiAssist? Apparently Anthony Carango continued to have navigational difficulties this evening, as he remembers: “getting lost in Nassau on Saturday night, ‘rescued’ by the Coast Guard, and showing their officer in charge (who happened to be applying to HBS) my HBS business card while pointing to my soon-to-never-be-empty-again beer.”
Sunday, February 17: Father Abraham’s Orphanage
Sunday was another beautiful day for beach and water activities, including SCUBA diving, snorkeling, riding Wave Runners, practicing Rugby, and consuming the occasional alcoholic beverage. As this was our last full day in the Bahamas, team Chaplain Michael “Wounded Knee” Paley (OD) had made special arrangements for the team to give back yet again to the community. After chowing down at the Poop Deck, one of Nassau’s finest seafood restaurants, Paley led HBS Rugby to Father Abraham’s Orphanage. Father Abraham was more than happy to have the team visit, but it was the orphans who truly delighted in HBS’ song and dance routine, ending with the team jumping into the warm waters of the beach. The team returned to the hotel, where Jorge O’Hara returned an earlier favor to Derek Mendez by cracking him some 151-proof Rum! Finding a water hose near the pool cabana, Mendez proceeded to drench half his teammates by surprise. Many members were able to scurry away for cover and remain dry, but O’Hara was not so lucky. John Hoffman and Brian Connell even spilled their Backgammon game during the water hose commotion, somehow resulting in a wrestling match between Connell and Sean “Gassman” Gass (OA). The festivities ran late into the night, as nobody wanted to waste their last few hours in Nassau by sleeping…
Monday, February 18:
Back to Boston
After a long weekend of festivities, it was finally time to return home. Barry “Harry Organ” Horgan (OD) had grown a moustache but decided to shave it at the last minute before heading home. Several players had to borrow the $15 exit fee to leave the Bahamas after accidentally leaving their cash in the casino in the wee hours of the morning. But for the men of the HBS Rugby Football Club, a victory and a good time were shared by all!
Memorable Tour Quotes:
“The pain of training is temporary, but the glory of Rugby is eternal.”
– “Red” Baron Hanson (FAS)
“I never want to see the inside of a Casino again,” on day one, five hours before he returned there
d HBS Rugby player
“You have to protect me from him.”
-Unspecified patron of Pirates Pub
“EAAASY, Killer” -NYPD
-HBS Rugby Team
“Double-D, Double Double-D, Double-D…”
-HBS Rugby Team
“Hey Barry, what was the highlight of the tour for you?”
“Thank you gentlemen, that’s my call.” -Various members of HBS Rugby Team