The mission of the Barbarians Youth Rugby club is fairly simple: We aim to introduce the great sport of rugby to as many kids as possible. Rugby is a culture as much as it is a sport - an inclusive culture where players of all shapes, backgrounds, races, sexes and abilities can not only play the sport, but excel at it. We are proud to have brought that culture to our club and we work hard to ensure that all of our teammates participate and have fun. Which is why, when one of our coaches suggested we hold a clinic at Riverview School in Sandwich, MA
, our coaches and players all jumped at the chance.
Riverview is a private school for students, aged 11-22, with complex language, learning and cognitive challenges. It is a very special place that gives students an environment and the support to learn both academics and life skills, gain independence, express themselves and participate in our society as active citizens. These are kids that may not be given the same opportunities as typical kids their age because people underestimate their abilities. From what we learned out on the pitch with them - DO NOT underestimate these kids!
We ran a number of fun drills to give the students, most of which have never seen a rugby ball, a feel for our sport. They quickly mastered the basic concepts: passing the ball, passing the ball while running, running into space and avoiding opposing players. We even had them run relay races while performing complex ball handling (how many of you can run while threading a rugby ball though your legs?). They handled everything we threw at them with big smiles and I think we spotted a few budding rugby stars. It was truly remarkable to see kids, many who are naturally shy, coming out to play with a bunch of strangers who refer to themselves as Barbarians!
We are very proud of our club. All of you (named at the bottom of this post) have given the Riverview students an experience they will never forget and we truly believe that you have helped give those kids a little more confidence to try new things. Everyone had a ton of fun and we have already been asked to find a time to come back.
At the end of every practice session we always ask our young Barbarians to tell us what they liked about practice. We asked the same question at Riverview. It was heart warming to receive a toothy smile and the answer - "EVERYTHING - I liked everything!". Mission accomplished. Rugby is truly a unique team sport/culture and we are just ambassadors - very proud ambassadors.
Thank you Riverview School.
Thank you to our Barbarians: Coach Daniel, Chief Steve, Coach Alan, Coach Ryan, Coach Rubin, guest Coach Jen, and our players : Joey, Kyan, Brogan, Adam.