[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]The USC Men’s Rugby Team visited ‘A Place Called Home’ this past weekend to teach intercity children the great sport of rugby. It was a fantastic experience for the team and we feel very privileged for the opportunity to work with such a delightful group of bright young kids. We hope to continue this relationship with A Place Called Home moving forward. Fight on!

Here is a player perspective from team member Jeff Stratford:

“It is both a privilege and a fulfilling opportunity when Trojan Rugby has an opportunity to give back to the community. For many of us, things like financial security and family support are taken for granted. We do not have to travel far from our campus to find communities where these things are not a given. Thankfully there are those in LA who have diagnosed the problems that face densely populated urban environments and offer a remedy in the form of love and understanding. One such organization is ‘A Place Called Home’ at 28th Street and S. Central. We have Trojan Rugger, Mikey McMonigle to thank for introducing us to this group. Having already volunteered his time with them he recognized what an opportunity there was for USC Rugby to give back to the youngsters at A Place Called Home. On November 20th, USC Rugby took a short drive from campus to share their time, energy and enthusiasm for rugby.

After arriving, their field was swarming with a mixture of college athletes and children of all ages. The children began in three stations to learn the basics of the game. The critical skills of passing and tackling were taught before putting it all together for a game of touch. With a little instruction and a whole lot of encouragement, the kids quickly started to look like a team putting on moves against the experienced Trojan Ruggers. Ask anyone on the team about the kid’s tackling and they may be embarrassed to tell you the truth. But let it be known that these kids could hit and more than once I found myself knocked down and absolutely flabbergasted. All it takes is hard work and determination for rugby to take these kids places. That much became evident. Finally a game was organized to illustrate the importance of having fun on the pitch. USC Rugby was pitted against all the kids in a modified sort of tag. The ball was passed among USC players who after catching the ball had to keep their feet still. If any of the kids were tagged by the ball they were out. With that, the day culminated with smiles and screams of joy for everyone involved. In moments like this, it becomes obvious how volunteering one’s time is perhaps the simplest and most rewarding thing one can do. Rugby already has so much to offer in the way of teamwork, discipline and physical fitness. These are all concepts that make for bright and healthy people. It truly was a privilege to give our time to A Place Called Home. We hope to maintain a continued relationship with this amazing organization and the entirety of our surrounding community. Thanks for having us!”

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