Sunday, October 7, 2007

NYRC and Kids from the South Bronx

Even though I’m no longer living in NY, I will always consider myself part of the community called the New York Rugby Club (NYRC). It’s the oldest rugby club in the country (founded in 1929) and includes a men’s team, a women’s team, an old boy’s team, social sides, and a lot of history.

Rugby in general is a tight-knit community where players graciously open their homes to each other, go out of their way to help each other out, and establish strong bonds with others off the field. What I think is most amazing is how much of an impact a community like this, and a club like NYRC, can have.

About a year ago, a few members of the club took it upon themselves to start the NYRC Under-19 Team. They recruited a bunch of boys and girls who have never played before from a school in the South Bronx (and not the nice part). Most of these kids have already had a tough life and you can imagine their days in high school are no walk in the park. The goal was to get them interested in rugby and linked into something that could offer a positive impact in their lives. It’s been amazing to see how quickly they picked up the sport and then began assimilating into the NYRC community.

Many of the club members have put in numerous hours helping out in different capacities: chaperoning away games, running fitness sessions, organizing their matches, coaching them twice a week, teaching them how to line the fields, finding them gear through donations, providing technique clinics, etc. With every interaction, these high schoolers are getting exposed to a community that’s different from the streets of the South Bronx.

I was impressed when the captain of the U-19 Team sent an email to the Women's Team wishing us good luck in an upcoming match. It was exciting to see such a mature gesture come from a high school student and know that just in 1 year, so many of the U-19's had already learned a lot about leadership, team, respect, and community.

It's reassuring to know that all the hard work has already been, and will continue to be, a valuable contribution to the lives of these young players. For the Club!


Jenna said...

A little shout out to the U19 kids who came from the South Bronx to BAY RIDGE, Brooklyn to make it in time for our game vs. Beantown this past weekend at was amazing to have them there! :)

Lee Knight said...

Rob Cabrera, member of the NYRC U-19 Team, has been named the Youth Player of the Month on Article by Michael Lombardi, excerpt below:

Youth Player of the Month
October 9, 2007 -

"It is amazing that my teacher told me about this great sport, and now I cannot get enough of it," Cabrera said later. And that was it. Cabrera and Lake started the NYRC U19s program. Rob was the first man on the roster, and is now the teams captain.

A 17-year-old student at Sports Professions High School, Cabrera lives in the Bronx and has now been playing for two years. He names founding the club and being its captain as two of his biggest accomplishments.

"It is a huge honor to represent my team with being named captain," he said."

To read the full article please read it online at (requires subscription)