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HBS Womens Rugby @ Duke:ÿ

Brimming with confidence from our oh-so-sweet victory at the Wharton Hogfest last semester and the desire to prove ourselves in a larger arena, the HBS Women’s Touch Rugby Team headed to Danville, VA, to participate in the 2006 MBA World Championships hosted by Duke. Realizing that being at Harvard must mean we are already better than all the other players, we didn’t really exert ourselves with practicing too much (a strategy that worked well for us in the last tourney).

Unfortunately, the Irish didn’t seem to have received the memo on how Harvard wins at everything – so our hopes and dreams were literally crushed by a solid (read rough and dirty) Smurfit team.

We should have known it wasn’t quite our weekend when we started the tournament off with a 4-hour delay at Boston airport. We finally arrived in Raleigh-Durham late that night, bleary-eyed and slightly nauseated from being in a tiny plane for two hours.

After scrambling to find two girls on the team who could actually drive an SUV, we headed to our host’s place. Proving that summer internships are worth more than just a name on your resume, Katie Sumpton (OE) scored us sweet accommodations with her ex-boss, Bill Eldridge and his wife Judy, as well as a host of neighbors in Durham. Declining Bill’s kind offer to drink beer and play pool, we decided to hit the sack and get some rest before our early start the next morning. ÿ

Our first game was against Columbia’s B team. We remembered these guys from Wharton, and despite their much cooler and more coordinated outfits, and their attempts to change the rules mid-game, we persevered and took them down 2-1. Rosy Fynn (ND) scored both the tries, eluding the desperate Columbia defenders. Just eluding them wasn’t enough for Rosy, though, who also felt it necessary to taunt them with comments like, “No, you didn’t touch me. I really am that fast.”

And you wonder why Harvard has a bad name?

After a short break, we took on McGill in game 2.ÿ The lumbering Canadians were no match for our swift footed and nimble players (fortunately the two Canadians on our teams, Nancy Bong (NG) and Charmaine Pattinson (NH) are anything but lumbering), and we handed McGill a solid 2-0 defeat.ÿ Rosy led the charge on scoring yet again, with the rest of the team providing solid support and impenetrable defense.ÿ Our water boy for the day was Bill’s granddaughter, Sydney (we think we recruited a player for the class of 2022).ÿ

Game 3 was against the (dirty) Irish.ÿ Disclaimer in advance:ÿ Average age of aforementioned dirty Irish was 23.ÿ Which means their bodies were MUCH more lithe and supple than ours, their joints not as old and creaky, and their muscles not as weary. That being said, HBS scored the first try, and Laura Dillon (NF), Marisa Goldenberg (OE) and Katie frustrated the Smurfit offense repeatedly.ÿ To retaliate, the Smurfettes kneedÿ Laura in the thigh, and violently assaulted Usha Chundru’s (OE) foot, causing her to lose half a toenail.ÿ

By the middle of the second half, the score was tied at 2-2 and both teams were desperate.ÿ Rabia Saeed (NG) went down hard with 30 seconds left in the game, was carried off the field by a perfectly sweet, albeit very hairy and unnecessarily shirtless doctor from one of the other mens’ teams, and was out for the rest of the tournament with a sprained ankle. ÿ The Smurfette’s wanted to continue play post-fall, but were unable to score, and the game ended in a draw.ÿ

After a small detour to the hospital and Burger King we headed back home, and showered up ready to hit Devine’s Bar.ÿ We were eager to see the ruggers after they had bathed and stitched their faces back together, but sadly, the offerings left much to be desired.ÿ Valuing sleep over sub-par meat, we headed back to our respective beds, and awoke the next morning with weary limbs, but fresh determination.ÿ

Unfortunately, by this point we were down to a situation where the team had to play without any substitutes (both Usha and Rabia were out with sprained ankles).ÿ Rising to the occasion as always, we were victorious in our first game against LBS, with Rosy scoring another beautiful try, and Tanya Wilkins (NI) and Nancy Bong providing excellent defensive cover.ÿ Katie put in her all despite having semi-sprained her ankle as well.ÿ Despite their best efforts, the LBS women could not penetrate our defense, and the HBS women took the game 1-0.ÿ

At this point, we faced a semi-final with Smurfit.ÿ As things stood, more than half the team needed to leave immediately after the game in order to catch their flight back to Boston.ÿ After a few frantic phone calls trying to change flights, the women (who were by now calling themselves the walking wounded) concluded that it was best to see what happened in the Smurfit game before changing plans, particularly since the RCs had an LCA exam the next day.ÿ

The next (and as it turned out final) game against the dirty Irish got off to yet another bad start, with lots of accidental and deliberate pushes, shoves, trips and falls on the field.ÿ A Smurfette on the sidelines justified this by saying that they had been warned before coming to the tourney that everyone else was going to be a lot bigger than them, and so they needed to adapt their game accordingly.ÿ A few minutes into the game, one of the little 23 year olds had broken through our shattered defense line, and despite being given valiant chase by Rosy and Katie, scored a try.ÿ Soon after, Rosy’s knees could take no more, and she limped off the field amidst much clapping and whistling. The Smurfettes then scored yet another try, and with that handed the HBS women their first defeat, 0-2. ÿ

Weary and broken, we jetted to the airport (stopping briefly to switch drivers as Charmaine could not see over the steering wheel of the SUV), and made our flights back to Boston.ÿ As for the Irish – we’ll be back next year with some fresh blood, and show them who’s boss.ÿ

April 24, 2006
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