The Longest Yard
Published: Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Updated: Wednesday, December 21, 2011 16:12
The Longest Yard
By Matt Coakley and Zain Yousaf
A somewhat fictionalized account based on the true, behind the scenes experiences of the 2011 Stern Hurricanes, using interviews and insights from the insiders who were there to witness it all. Only the names have been changed to protect the innocent ... and the events and timeline and stuff whenever it didn't happen exactly how we wanted it to.
It was a stormy Friday in September when it all began - seven Stern MBAs gathered in a drenched meadow on Manhattan's East side. They fought valiantly through the rain, not knowing that this was the beginning of the season that would change their lives forever ... or not.
This is a story of triumph, of heartbreak, and of the team that risked it all for one last shot at glory. This is the story of the 2011 Stern Hurricanes.
Naroline Cguyen stared silently at the wall of her cubicle in the dimly-lit basement of the law school, as the knot in the pit of her stomach tightened. A Princeton grad and JD-MBA at NYU, Naroline was no stranger to success. But her impressive academic pedigree couldn't have prepared her for the monumental challenge she now faced: fielding a team for the upcoming law school flag football league. She made the decision to join the league long ago, but with the moment now upon her, pangs of doubt raced through her mind. Could she recruit a team in time? What if they didn't win? And would they even respond to her as the emotional and inspirational figurehead? Naroline's style had always been to lead by example, but as captain, the fate of the team would rest solely in her hands. She recognized that this was a role that would push her far outside her comfort zone. But having already submitted the registration form, there was no turning back.
With her reputation on the line, Naroline knew failure wasn't an option. So she embarked on a massive effort to assemble a team of unparalleled strength, unmatched skill, and superior talent. A team that would put NYU athletics back on the map. A team that would forever be remembered as the greatest to ever don the purple and black. A team that would go down in the history books as soon as she could write the Wikipedia page about it.
Then she remembered that her only connections were in the business school ... in her block. Tethered to their smartphones and perpetually in fear of missing out on things that they never knew they wanted to do in the first place, these MBAs would certainly respond to her call. And so she settled for a team she knew would respond to her brief email inquiry.
"No, no, no ... no. This makes absolutely NO sense. Why would we do that? Ever." Wandy Rellington grimaced in disbelief. He was continually shocked by his business partner's proposals. Wandy, possessing more entrepreneurial spirit than his peers, had spent his MBA summer developing a new business with a connection outside of Stern. They were still trying to move the project forward as the fall term started. The idea was solid but the two, who once considered themselves friends, usually bickered over execution. When it came to these things, Wandy naturally saw the bigger picture and was getting tired of having to push his partner out of the way to get things done.
Wandy shook his head and leaned back in his ergonomic office chair. He prepared to fire a scathing reply to his partner's ill-advised suggestion. Just then, his inbox lit up again. Naroline's e-mail temporarily distracted Wandy from his outrage.
Naroline brought Wandy back to the days before adversarial co-workers, incomes, expenses and long-term strategies. It brought him back to when he had been the quarterback of his high school football team and had played his way into the recruiting picture at several colleges. Wandy was agile, smooth in the pocket and had a quick release. Unfortunately, poorly timed injuries kept him from seeing how far he could go. He missed the excitement of competing with everything on the line, the fun of stiff-arming defenders twice his size, dancing around would-be tacklers and firing a bullet to a teammate through a swarm of defenders. It had been a long time since Wandy had been on a football field, having spent so many of the past few years swilling coffee and coconut water in a sterile office in downtown Los Angeles. He immediately replied to Naroline, casually mentioning that he would be willing to lead the team to victory at the quarterback position, if needed.
"Football? How hard could it be?" Marina Koscu furrowed her brow as she stared at the screen of her new iPhone. She salivated at the prospect of delivering punishing blows to all the classmates that had wronged her throughout the year. It was no secret amongst her class that Marina had long-harbored a mysterious, deep-seeded rage towards any and everything; the slightest false move could set her off. Although she had never quite managed to understand where her fury came from, she figured that playing football might provide the perfect (socially acceptable) opportunity to let it all out. Marina was accompanied by a melange of international students: Tair Yon, Gaoli Nc, Haaman Neyman, and Varc Misent Venardia. What they lacked in football "knowledge" and "skill," they made up for in enthusiasm and thirst for post-game drinks.
It was also a seemingly-quenchless thirst for post-game drinks (or pre-game, post-dinner, pre-dinner, late-night, early-morning, in-flight, really any modifer-noun drink-type) that had Revin Keyes bleary-eyed, and startled by the jarring vibrations of his iPhone (yes, everyone has an iPhone). What time was it? What day was it? Whose apartment was he in? Revin stumbled to the fridge to grab a Gatorade and thumbed through several messages about flag football. Well, actually just one message about flag football and two dozen replies from classmates declaring how excited they were to potentially do stuff. "IN!" he declared, profoundly echoing their sentiments. Revin was an accomplished quarterback in his own right and had honed his skills on the playgrounds in Jersey and the N64 in NFL Blitz. He smirked and stutter-stepped his way out of the apartment.