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!