MONTREAL, CANADA (HBSRFC PRESS) it’s not every year that your school or team is ranked #1 in something…unless you happen to go to HBS.
With a fresh #1 B-School ranking from Forbes under their belts, as well as a #1 B-School Rugby ranking in NERFU league play, HBS went on tour to Montreal, Canada to defend these rankings, both on and off the pitch, against an ambitious McGill MBA Rugby team.
Spoof: A game of a hoaxing and nonsensical character – Murray’s New English Dictionary
A fall journey up to Montreal is always a treat, with beautiful vistas of fall foliage drawing ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ from the team vans. Inspired in part by a ceremonial reading from Arthur Roberts’ seminal work “50 Years of Spoof,” Bryan Vaniman (OF), proceeded to lose consecutive games of HBS Rugby’s favorite game, and was forced to purchase several rounds of beverages at the ensuing rest stop. A special “thanks” goes out to team drivers Jay Klug (NE) and Will Swint (NI), who performed admirably while navigating through John Sheppard’s (OI) infamous “short cuts.” However, Swint did have a spot of trouble clearing his van’s windshield of foreign substances and Klug somehow managed to alienate the Canadian border guard, subjecting the passengers of his van to an unscheduled internment at the border. Fortunately the diplomacy skills of Tucker Bailey (OB), who insisted on commenting on the resemblance of your correspondent’s passport photo to a certain adult film star, did not prevent the team members from crossing the border.
Upon arrival at the McGill campus in Montreal, the team was greeted warmly by a large contingent of McGill players and fans. Almost as quickly as Baron Hanson (FAS) had found a computer to send emails from, the team found itself drinking beers and making new friends.
Michael Sergio Hernandez-Soria (OH) was among those who surely made
his presence felt, and for some reason felt the need to prove it by showing off a trophy he had earned for his exploits. Such audacity, however, was not appreciated by his teammates, as evidenced by Mike Butville (NB), who promptly “fell asleep” in a corner. Butville would later remember “leaving the better part of my dinner in the back of a taxi cab Friday night.
I thought it was Canadian custom, instead of leaving a tip you leave your dinner!”
After a good-natured trading of rugby songs, the teams moved the party to one of Montreal’s outstanding nightspots, where the team was introduced to the newest dance craze that is sweeping Canada, the “Hummingbird.” Performed at such a quick pace as to blur the vision, this participatory dance was quite the hit with Canadians and Americans alike.
A few more hours of club-hopping capped off the night for some, including Luke Herbert (NE), who as Jay Klug remembers, “got tackled by a rather large woman at around 3 AM before making a mad dash to safety”, while others headed to Montreal’s famed casino to test their luck at games of chance other than spoof.
With a big rugby match scheduled for the following day, a good number of the team made sure to prep their bodies with a large helping of shwarma prior to hitting the sack. Your correspondent distinctly remembers watching Sergio attempt to place his order:
Lady behind the counter: “Would you like anything else?”
LBTC: “What kind of baklava?”
LBTC: “Sir, we have four types of baklava. What type would you like?”
…at which point your correspondent stepped in to choose baklava for Sergio whilst elbowing him in the stomach.
“Surely spoof French is the ideal language for international diplomacy” – Arthur Roberts, 50 Years of Spoof
At the insistence of my host, your correspondent took a morning walking tour of Montreal after only a few hours of rest. For those faithful Harbus readers who have not yet had an opportunity to explore this lovely city, I implore you to visit and take in the beautiful architecture and thriving caf‚ scene, as well as the fine cuisine available at its restaurants. While many tourists focus only on Montreal’s fantastic nightlife, which is quite a marvel as well as a bargain relative to that found in most North American cities, I found these clubs unfortunately to be closed during the morning, and as such continued my walking tour.
One thing that particularly struck your correspondent about Montreal was the friendliness of the people. From our hosts at McGill, who were kind enough to find spare beds for the entire team (including one rugby fan who took in five of our gentlemen at once), to the bartenders and ladies in the clubs, there was not a frown or scowl to be seen. Indeed, even when confronted with an awkward situation (admittedly your correspondent found himself in increasingly extraordinary positions throughout the weekend), humble attempts at recalling high school French class brought laughter and assistance, rather than the scorn your correspondent has experienced in other French-speaking cities in countries largely populated by French people. O— est le papier, indeed.
But I digress…there is a rugby match to recount! Starting for HBS were:
01 Derek “DD” Mendez (ODB)
02 Will “The Thrill” Swint (NI)
03 Charles “Commando” Macdonald (OD)
04 Michael “Sergio” Hernandez-Soria (OH)
05 John “Bet you can’t handle TWO flankers” Sheppard (OI)
06 Brendan “Grenade” Rauw (OF)
07 Jay “VisionQuest” Klug (NE)
08 “Red” Baron Hanson (FAS)
09 Luke “Skywalker” Herbert (NE)
10 Spence “Riverdance” Kympton (OD)
11 Brian “Old Man” Connell (OOOK)
12 Dan “Bucket of Beers” Shapero (OE)
13 Morgan “Spoofmaster” Duke (NJ)
14 Jamil “Wrath of” Khan (NJ)
15 Adrien “Zulu Warrior” de Chaisemartin (FAS)
The match was played in front of a large crowd of McGill supporters, who, despite the cold and rainy conditions, refused to give up hope for the home team. Although the rain let up a bit near the start of the match, the field had definitely seen better days after an earlier lacrosse match had turned the green grass into sticky pits of brown mud. This did not, however, bother the #1-ranked HBS side, who are used to playing on a home pitch which has been known to stay underwater for weeks following a light shower.
HBS won the toss and elected to receive the opening kick, which McGill pursued with force. In the recent history of the two teams, McGill had never scored on HBS in Montreal, with their only points vs. HBS coming in a losing effort in tournament play at the MBA World Rugby Championships. Perhaps this was the reason why McGill was so fired up early on, as Jay Klug remembers “seeing Luke [Herbert] get destroyed in front of me on the opening kick-off” by the opposition.” Herbert would stand right back up, however, and play a fantastic match at scrumhalf, feeding excellent passes all around and making big hits on the boys from McGill.
Herbert was just one of several HBS players making their first A-side starts, including several who had not played rugby prior to joining the team this year: Sergio, Klug, Swint, Khan, and Duke are all newcomers to the sport, and all made huge contributions during the game. While on occasion their unfamiliarity with the rules of rugby resulted in unintentional penalties, the best way to learn the game is to play it, and each of these rookies played with all their heart. Newcomers were not the only team members to contribute, as Mendez (HBS ’03) and Connell (HBS ’02) flew around the pitch making big tackles and taking the ball up the field at pace.
McGill opened the scoring midway through the first half with a penalty kick, but HBS quickly regrouped and pounded the ball back down the field.
Leading the way were Kympton for the backs and Macdonald for the forwards, whose military experience certainly was a factor in rallying the troops. After threatening to score on several occasions, the team finally found its man as de Chaisemartin punched the ball through for a try after several swi
ft passes through the backs.
Penalties brought McGill into the HBS half of the field again, but they went home empty-handed after huge plays by Mendez and Hanson. With the ball nearly touched down over the line for a McGill try, Hanson lowered his shoulder and delivered a big hit to the McGill forward, then secured the ball against his chest and prevented it from being touched down for a score. After repelling McGill back to the 22 meter line, they were awarded another penalty. This time, Mendez delivered the hit of the match, leveling the opposition with a wicked tackle. The threat was thwarted, and HBS was able to regain possession and take the ball out to midfield. After the match, the opposing player confided to Mendez, “You hit me so hard I think my grandmother felt it!”
Ken “Wounded Knee” Ebbitt (OG), who had dressed up as Vince Lombardi for the occasion, gave an inspirational speech at the half. Heading into the second half, the score was HBS 5, McGill 3. Not content with this slim lead, some of the HBS veterans now took charge. In the forwards, Rauw and Macdonald dominated the rucks and mauls, and in the backs were huge tackles by Shapero and Connell. Key to the second-half dominance was the superb lineout play, as Swint got clean ball in to Sheppard time and time again. Subbing in for Mendez at the 65th minute was Bryan Vaniman, who entered at flanker as Klug moved to loose-head prop to fill in for Mendez, who had injured his shoulder with the big hit in the first half and could no longer play through the pain.
Both sides added penalty kicks in the second half, with Kympton booting through the final 3 points for HBS. When the final whistle blew, HBS emerged muddy but victorious, 8-6. While McGill had finally scored points on HBS in their home stadium, they were still held without a try.
“And that was the end of a perfect summer holiday which was purchased by Spoof.” – Arthur Roberts, 50 Years of Spoof
No rugby match is complete without a “third half” of drinking and singing hosted by the opposition, and McGill did not disappoint. “Man of the Match” honors went to Spence Kympton and Charles Macdonald, both of whom went on to entertain the gathered crowd. Macdonald, the team’s songmaster, wowed the McGill lads with his expansive repertoire of songs.
Kympton, on the other hand, revealed what he learned in his summer internship as a cast member of “Riverdance,”leaping up on stage to perform what was described by one teammate as “an Irish jig performed by an overgrown drunken Leprechaun.” Team spoof championships were held, with Morgan Duke achieving the rare trifecta of losing three times at spoof in an evening. Celebrity sightings included Blue from “Old School” who was practicing verses of “Wild Rover” and “Molly Malone.”
The festivities continued at Montreal’s Club Tokyo – apparently a distant cousin of Cambridge’s own Hong Kong. En route to the club, disaster was averted by none other than Sergio, who explained to an intervening police officer that, “It’s OK – we’re rugby players.” Once inside the club, there was much rejoicing by and for the victorious HBS team. One of Montreal’s most odious rugby fans accepted dances from five consecutive HBS ruggers before settling on the sixth, a fine gentleman of Canadian heritage (or shall we say that he settled on her…). Despite the team’s best efforts to dissuade such activities, including a game of spoof to decide who would rescue him, said gentleman tore off with the woman to the dance floor and demonstrated a variant of the Butterfly dance which most of us would rather forget.
As your correspondent thumbed his way to the bar for another round of adult beverages, he could not help but pity all those on the team who had not made the trip, for a fantastic time was being had by all. But that thought did not linger long as I became swept up in a group of dancing women with some of my teammates. Alas, my dancing skills pale in comparison to those of Spence Kympton, and shortly I found myself falling to the floor of the club amidst broken beer bottles. Luckily I was lifted up unscathed by Jamil Khan, at which time I decided to adjourn to a club of a far more relaxing nature where I received a massage for my injured shoulder.
At the crack of noon the following day, your HBS ruggers departed tearfully, but victorious, from Montreal, and didn’t even get stopped at the border on the way home. The HBS Rugby Team would like to thank McGill MBA Rugby for welcoming us into their homes and onto their rugby pitch.