Braddock vs. Garfield

photo 3The 2014 youth rugby season has kicked off for the 19th year in a row.  Garfield, the season champion for the past two years, travelled to Team Braddock at Hawkins Village in the Borough of Rankin.  The sidelines were ringed with family and friends, as well as quite a few neighbors who just wanted to know what all the excitement was about.  Many of the parents were given the opportunity to hear the rules of the sport for the first time.  The father of Braddock player Isaiah mentioned, ” Now I know what is going on- and can tell that my son loves the sport.  This is a great thing that you do for our kids”.

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Over 50 boys age 8-14 took the field Wednesday night to compete in the 19th season of non-contact rugby in Pittsburgh.  The programs, created and organized by the Pittsburgh Harlequins Rugby Football Association, use the game of Rugby Football as a tool to mentor youth in Pittsburgh’s Inner-city neighborhoods.  Partnering with the Housing Authority, The Pittsburgh Harlequins Rugby Club, The Mentoring Partnership, and many others; The Harlequins work to instill pride in each player through participation in sport.  Each session is started by discussing the rules, what  is happening in school, and recounting positive things that have happened since the last session.

Bill Schildnecht, one of the founding members of the Rugby Club (1973) and the Rugby Association (1995), commented that “the score is really not all that important to the coaches and mentors”.  He added, “The players, however, know exactly what the score is at all times!”

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For those of you following along with the season, Braddock took the night, 35-20.