ROSWELL, Ga. – May 3 was a historic day for Rugby ATL and Swift School as the two partnered to conduct the first Rookie Rugby program during school hours.
The visit was unforgettable as Rugby ATL’s players and coaches interacted with a unique student population. Students at Swift School have dyslexia and related language-based learning differences and receive remediation each day. Swift School students learn to leverage their strengths, advocate relentlessly, and celebrate success.
“Spending the day with Rugby ATL’s players and coaches was an incredible opportunity for our second through eighth grade students," said Lindsey Daniell, Swift School's Physical Education Teacher. "The students were inspired by the exceptional abilities of the players and looked up to them as role models. The exposure to a new sport via the Rookie Rugby Program was a fantastic initiative that allowed our students to broaden their horizons. The character-building lessons in teamwork, maintaining a positive attitude, and striving for excellence were invaluable.”
In each 50-minute PE class, Swift School’s students participated in four stations to learn the basics of rugby. The players and coaches introduced the game in a safe and engaging, non-contact way. Students became familiar with the shape and size of a rugby ball, how to pass and carry the ball, and techniques for pulling the flag. The class ended with an intense game of ultimate rugby or hungry, hungry hippos – rugby style.
Swift School serves students with average to above-average IQs who have a primary diagnosis of dyslexia, and the students’ ability to learn a new sport so quickly wowed Rugby ATL’s players and coaches.
“The students did a great job and quickly picked up on the techniques,” said Coach Blake Bradford. “We brought some fun games, and the kids were great. There was a lot of good competition.”
Rugby ATL, like every Major League Rugby team, is making a significant impact on future generations through the Rookie Rugby program. Within the next ten years, the United States of America will host the Men’s Rugby World Cup (2031) and the Women’s Rugby World Cup (2033).
“It was great to be part of Swift School’s PE classes today,” said Coach Bradford. “We are thrilled to have conducted the Rookie Rugby program for the first time at Swift School. The program is a grassroots initiative to grow interest in the game and get students excited about rugby at a young age. Our team is passionate about spreading rugby and teaching kids about the great game.”
Rugby ATL’s coaches left equipment with Coach Daniell, which allows her to incorporate rugby into her curriculum.
“I am excited to add rugby to my curriculum,” stated Coach Daniell. “I am thrilled that students will continue to be exposed to rugby in physical education classes in the coming years. I cannot thank Rugby ATL enough for investing in the lives of our students.”