That’s right. Back to School time is officially here. Colleges are now in session with their activity fairs going on throughout campus. High Schools and middle schools are slowly returning or having back to school nights. One sport that is growing is continually is rugby. Hinsdale Central had 40 young women interested in playing during their freshman orientation. Morton High School, with several state championships under their belt, now has nearly 200 young women interested in playing rugby. In the past few years, youth Fall Ball has been a small social sport with a few clubs able to commit players, during the season dominated by football. This year, Arlington, Palatine, Barrington, Predators, Rockford, Chiefs, Plainfield, SSCobras, Narwhals, New Trier, Brother Rice, Blaze Academy, Griffins Academy, Taft, Wapiti, Mt. Carmel, Marist, Bulls and the All Reds are ALL having players take part in the fall fun. This trend means that more players are not just playing rugby in the spring as an alternative to football, but are excited to have rugby be their year round sports, as it is some that can be played 12 months out of the year, or at least trained for when we have snow covered pitches.
There is also a growing trend of Rugby Academies, that are recruiting players, giving them the opportunity to train and grow along side established men’s and women’s clubs. In Illinois registered rugby clubs, from U 12 through Adult Clubs number 131. Last weekend Rugby Illinois hosted a coaching clinic for 200L and 300L coaches, which means the quality of play is continuing to rise. The NFL continues to use rugby coaches to teach proper tackle techniques, and from players to parents, the safety aspects of no padding and smarter play are one thing that is drawing players to the sport. This fall Fenwick will be holding youth clinics, the Wapiti, Narwhals, Crystal Lake Lions, North Shore Rhinos, are just a few who will be open to U14 players who want to get out and play rugby. High School and Middle School age, both boys and girls are being invited to be a part of the traveling Fall Ball games, which will be played before Men’s Clubs game this season, if you know need more information the Coordinator is Paul Bergman – firstname.lastname@example.org. Coaches for youth and parent volunteers are always needed and is a great way to be involved if you recently retired your rugby boots. You can also become a referee which are in demand as the game continues to expand. There are so many ways from fan, to player, to supporter to get involved with rugby this fall. So as you head back to school, or the office, remember that rugby is something that can get you through the cool months that are quickly approaching