This fall saw the resurgence of Gordon Gekko and the Karate Kid, but no event could live up to the hype surrounding the return of the HBS Old Boys to the rugby pitch. Each fall the ageless Old Boys of HBS Rugby Football Club descend on the hallowed rugby pitch on Soldiers Field Park road to relive their glory days. It has become an annual tradition and a weekend that makes Harvard vs. Yale football look like child’s play. This year’s star studded cast included some of the best of the clubs 1,400 alumni from the last 47 years. The senior member of this hall of fame caliber squad was Jim “Energizer” Ashton (MBA ’72) at 68 year young.
The Old Boys always start the game off with the classic line read right from the same broken script: “take it easy on us we are old.” That fact was clearly evidenced by the diverse range of knee, ankle, and other bracing that made them look and sound more like group of German Panzer tanks than rugby players. But, when the Old Boys bore down with their hardnosed north-south rugby led by the strong rucking of “Smiling” Jim Pottow (HBS 91′) and unleashed the deceptive speed of legends such as Liam “Porsche” Patrick (HBS 07′) any notion of mercy quickly subsided. The aggression of the Old Boys front line led to a costly ankle injury that put the current side’s own human tank Warren Anderson (HKS) on the two week disabled list. Despite bringing such a strong team and scrapping for every inch, the speed and sharpness of the current squad proved too much as the Young Boys jumped out to an early lead on a score by Sayce “Rocky” Falk (HKS) and posted four more scores on the way to a 35-14 victory. The scores were punched in by Tanner “the Terror” Amdur-Clark (HLS), Derek “Power Pops” Poppinga (NF), Anson “I heart Victoria” Frericks (OB), and Bastien “the French Furry” Varoutsikos (H.PhD ). The Old Boy’s first try was scored by Marc “Brick Breaker” Wayshak (HC 04′). This marks the second straight year the Young Boys will be prominently exhibiting the coveted match trophy in its display case in Spangler hall.
The always hard-fought alumni game was just the climax to a great weekend of rugby revelry. The weekend began with an Old Boys’ meeting to plan activities for the clubs 50th anniversary and to lay the ground work for a fundraising campaign to build a permanent rugby grounds and club house. Guest of honor for the weekend’s activities was club founder Jim Johnstone (HBS 66′) who brought as much energy and infinitely more wisdom to the proceedings than all the Young Boys combined. The alumni meeting was followed by a generous event hosted by club sponsor Harpoon Brewery at their Boston headquarters. While letting a rugby team into a brewery may seem tantamount to inviting the Trojan Horse into the ancient city of Troy, the event was a resounding success. Following the club’s salute of the Harpoon staff with a rousing rendition of the HBS RFC Anthem, the team was off on a raucous pub crawl that terminated at the Cambridge castle of rugby culture Tommy Doyle’s. Friday’s social time was marked by intense trash-talking and possibly a few gentlemanly wagers that had to be settled on the field the following day. Saturday, after each team had expended every ounce of energy on the pitch both squads enjoyed a sizzling bratwurst cookout and beers provided by Gene “Mr. Tailgate” Skowronski (HC 65′) and the HBS rugby boosters. As dusk settled over the Cambridge sky, the festivities once again migrated to Tommy Doyle’s for a night of good hearted celebration as the Old Boys quickly washed away their bruises with a few cold beers and delivered an epic performance in the halls of Doyle’s Crimson Lounge. While many of the legendary questions of HBS rugby remained unanswered such as: who has better hair Brendan “Dancing with the Stars” Whitworth (HBS 08′) or Peter “Pretty Boy” Baldwin (HBS 10′), or what is bigger Sean “Meat Stick” Eldridge’s (HBS 09′) forearms or Jimmy “Boss” Joun’s (HBS 10′) calves, the Old Boys’ own Patrick “Pipe” Dickinson (HBS 09′) made one point resoundingly clear. In a statement heard round all of Tommy Doyle’s the rugger loudly proclaimed
“Greed HBS Rugby is good!” So ended the sequel “Rugby Never Sleeps,” and the tradition continues.
HBS RFC would like to thank all the alumni who traveled from all over the world to play and celebrate the school’s winning tradition. A special thanks to the fearless leader of the Old Boys, Mike “Da Professor” Rush (AMP 88′), who spent countless hours to make the weekend possible. Most importantly, we would like to thank our sponsors: the intellectual people of Boston Consulting, the brave people of Global Rescue, the deliciously creative people of Harpoon Brewery, the master of yeast artists of Narragansett, the hospitable people of Tommy Doyle’s, and J. David Sullivan who make all our victories possible.
The HBS team returned to the pitch Tuesday, October 12th to host the visiting Western Australia University, but scores were not posted by press time. Come support the team for their next game against Rutland on October 23rd at 2PM on the HBS home pitch.
An ardent disciple and zealous critic of Jack Welch, Tom spent three years working at General Electric in finance and the past summer running around Europe doing business development for Medtronic.ÿ He has moved 27 times and has lived in four different countries. He is a proud member of old Section B.