Wednesday Night Lights: Section I Wins the RC Flag Football Championship
There is an I in “win”
It was a tale of two halves last Wednesday night as Section I squared off with Section G in the RC Flag Football Championship Game. Trailing 14-6 at halftime, Section I reeled off 28 unanswered points to win the RC title, 34-14.
“This is a true team win,” Section I captain Benoit Fredette said. “Section I is not about individuals, it’s about a strong group that never backs down. We bend but don’t break. I is the best letter, but there is no I in team.”
With his team trailing and momentum moving against them, Fredette might have decided a tactical change was in order at the intermission. Rather than rewrite the playbook, however, Fredette delivered his most rousing halftime speech yet, imploring his team to believe in themselves and in their teammates around them.
“I told them that we’ve been in similar situations before, and we all agreed to win this in a team effort, play by play,” he said.
“In the second half we tried to just go back to what got us to the championship: having fun out there, drawing up plays in the dirt, and letting our athletes make plays,” said quarterback Aaron Byrd. “Once we got back to just moving and reacting, with some creative backyard football mixed in, we got back into a rhythm and won the game.”
Things didn’t look so good for Section I in the first half. After falling into an early 6-0 hole, Section G was able to turn two Section I turnovers into touchdowns, the second coming moments before halftime.
With Section G’s fans in a frenzy, Section I turned to a tiger-masked Nate Leung and an un-tiger-masked Stephanie Swingle to rouse the I of the Tiger faithful. For all the credit due to the players on the field, for Erin Arnold, the shift in momentum began with the fans on the sidelines.
“While getting rid of our nerves certainly helped, it was really the crowd that won the game,” she said. “The I of the Tiger roared on the sidelines; letting them down would have been unconscionable.”
After a difficult first half, Byrd led Section I down the field for a touchdown and successful two-point conversion in the first series of the second half, tying the score at 14-14. “To come out so strong in the second half was a huge confidence boost for the team,” Fredette said.
The defensive unit, led by Eric Adamson, Andrew Bender, Deborah Hsieh, Yi-An Huang, Mark Michelman, Hudson Moore, Katie Peek and Carolyn Wintner, shut down the Section G attack throughout the second half. With Section G in the red zone late in the second half, Bender had a critical interception which he returned the length of the field for a touchdown.
As the final whistle blew, Section I’s fans rushed the field to celebrate with their team. Afterward, a reflective Fredette gave credit to the players on his team.
“Coaching this team was a true privilege for me – these guys are great athletes, but more importantly great human beings,” Fredette said. “All year long, I asked this team to give me the ‘I’ in win. Today, they did better than that; they gave me two ‘I’s’ in championship.”
Section I will play the winner of the EC Championship later this month. Fredette said he hopes people from all RC sections will come to cheer on the team in the EC-RC game.
Bart Clareman, an RC student from New York City, was a history major at Williams College where he served as Editor-in-Chief of the student newspaper, The Williams Record. Prior to attending HBS he worked in the Office of the Chairman at Goldman Sachs in New York.