Rugby 7s is on NBC, I’m watching snow squalls fly past my window and next to me sits steaming hot coffee. Perfect! I wish our weather matched that of Las Vegas, but I’ll settle for watching the USA Sevens Las Vegas Invitational on television. (Actually, if truth be told, I love the snow and this has been a great winter for that!) I’m passing the time waiting for our Eagles to play later today, and just getting excited about watching our high school players in a few months… provided the snow melts. 🙂
During the off season, while mums and kids are making sure they’ve got the proper equipment to survive the next 3-4 months with zero unexpected trips to the sporting goods store, lots of coaches and referees are using this time to further advance their rugby education. There are coaching and refereeing classes going on in all corners of the country right now – just check out USA Rugby’s website (Coaches: http://usarugby.org/coaching-courses/course-calendar ; Referees: http://usarugby.org/referee-courses). With all of these classes available, now is the perfect time for those of you who play/played rugby to help us expand youth programs!
In the movie Breaking Away (great movie, by the way), Cyril says “We may plead, but we would never beg.” I’m definitely pleading. And I may beg. All of us involved with rugby, whether in a parental role, player, coach, referee, administrator, etc., want to grow this sport in a proper manner. That means having coaches and referees who are certified and know the laws of rugby. The best candidates for these roles are those who are currently playing or have played in the past.
If you’ve played, you’re more familiar with rugby laws than those of us who just watch from the sidelines. We need your expertise. Our kids need your expertise. Rugby Development Officers in many states are actively working to teach rugby to kids through Rookie Rugby, Try On Rugby, and other programs. Once the kids have learned about rugby, it’s imperative that we have opportunities in place for them to pursue the sport.
It’s amazing how many people I meet who played rugby in college. They come out of the woodwork! I am thinking of at least 3 people I know just from living next door or through friends that could help by coaching or refereeing. Our future rugby coaches and refs are our friends, neighbors, co-workers and maybe even our relatives! Currently playing rugby in college or high school? Consider getting certified now to help us out in the summer or fall.
Share your love of rugby with a local program; let your heart be warmed with a child’s smile as he/she gives rugby a try. (And for a quick peek into how youth rugby can put smiles on kids’ faces, take a look at this video from Rugby Indiana: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=34jMdFd0o3c.)
These things don’t magically happen; it takes dedicated individuals to make it work. Maybe that dedicated person is YOU.