Remember The Beavers!
Guest Writer: Prateek Chakrabarty
Hometown: New Delhi, India
Education: Amity University, New Delhi
Previous Experience: Technology Consulting – Indian Tobacco Company; Marketing and Advertising – Koenig Solutions Ltd.
Activities: VP Club Management, Graduate Student Council; Head Coach, MBA Soccer Club
Favorite Babson Entrepreneur: Courtney Wilson, Founder – Dropzone for Veterans
It’s 1:28 PM on a balmy Sunday afternoon in New Haven, Connecticut. Fifteen MBA students from Babson College have played 358 minutes of grueling football against Ivy League schools that have more substitutes than the whole Babson squad. Playing with bruised ankles, torn muscles, and cramping limbs, these fifteen bravehearts have put their bodies on the line to defend their goal against the high and mighty Ivy Leaguers from Columbia Business School. Up by two goals in the final, with just a few seconds to go before Babson College is proclaimed the champions of the 27th edition of the Yale MBA Soccer tournament, time seems to go by painstakingly slow. Can they do it?
Let’s rewind 358 minutes to when it all started. There’s a Financial Accounting final exam in two days, a Global Strategic Management assignment due the same day, another mid-term here, a marketing quiz there, but all that these fifteen individuals can see is that uneven ground on which they will face Columbia Business School in their first group game. A feisty encounter occurs, and the New Yorkers are staggered that they couldn’t get past a rather unknown quantity in their circle. An unspoken vow is shared between the two teams to meet again in the tournament. Scores have a way of settling themselves somehow. Cornell and Yale fell by the wayside, as the green juggernaut rolled on. Babson had made its way in to the Quarter Finals.
As Sunday dawned on the vast green spaces of Yale, the old foe Harvard lay waiting to pounce on any weakness that Babson exposed. But it wasn’t just any other football game, this was an old-fashioned grudge match – two rivals fighting to establish supremacy over the other, 130 miles from home. A 30 yard screamer from Babson’s gutsy Venezuelan, a plucky goal by the White and Maroons, and it was all square until two minutes from the end. Harvard was peppering the Babson goal, pulling out all the stops and leaving no stone unturned in unnerving Babson’s resolute defense. And then it happened.
A Harvard attack was stopped in its tracks by the captain, a swift pass out to the right, and some quick feet found the ball at the half way line. The ball was held up beautifully, as the warhorse wing back made a lung bursting run down the left, cut two defenders, and chipped the goalkeeper beautifully to score the goal that gave Babson a memorable win over Harvard Business School.
Perfunctory handshakes, snide comments, and yes, a hard fought 2-0 win over Carnegie Mellon in the semi-final brought the Babson journey in the tournament a full circle. Columbia Business School – the opponents they had begun the competition against – stood waiting between Babson and a famous victory. These fifteen bravehearts had battled through pain and aching limbs and overwhelming fatigue for three hundred minutes. The 6th game in two days, the Final of the 27th Yale MBA Soccer Tournament showcased the proverbial David vs Goliath battle, and therein began the game that will live long in the memories of everyone present on that field.
What followed was the truest example of undying human spirit in its most raw form. Even when they couldn’t move, all 22 players on the pitch went after the ball as if their lives depended on it. And after that it was all a question of who wanted it more. Diving around, putting the sanctity of their well-being on the lines, Babson defended their slender one goal advantage, before the Captain – this impregnable mountain of a man – popped up at the right place to slot a header in, and double Babson’s lead over the three-time champions of this competition.
It’s 1:30 PM on a balmy Sunday afternoon in New Haven, Connecticut, and there’s pandemonium on the Yale University field. 15 MBA students from Babson College have played 360 minutes of grueling football against Ivy League schools that have more substitutes than the whole Babson squad. And they’ve beaten them all. They’ve beaten them all! For the first time ever in this Graduate school’s history, there is a champion sports team. These MBA students, the ambassadors of the beautiful game, are the champions of one of the most prestigious soccer competitions in North Eastern America, and I am privileged to be a part of the team.