Shane Young, a former rugger with the Naples Hammerheads Rugby Football Club (RFC), recently relocated to Memphis, Tenn. After moving to the area, Young witnessed the numerous problems associated with inner-city life for high school students in and around Memphis.
To counteract the negative influences surrounding the disadvantaged young men in the Memphis, Shane Young co-founded Memphis Inner City Rugby Organization in August 2012. This organization’s mission is to improve the lives of economically disadvantaged high schools students through the power of rugby.
Rugby Examiner speaks with Shane Young, co-founder of Memphis Inner City Rugby
The Tampa Bay Rugby Examiner had the opportunity this past Tuesday evening to speak with Shane Young, the co-founder of Memphis Inner City Rugby, about his experiences in the three months since this inner-city youth rugby league was created for young men in the Memphis area:
Memphis Inner City Rugby is a non-profit organization that brings new opportunities to economically disadvantaged young men through a sport that is traditionally played by their more affluent suburban counterparts. Since our organization was founded in August, 2012 we have impacted more than 50 young men by starting two high school rugby teams.
These teams, located at Kingsbury High School and Power Center Academy,represent the first inner-city rugby programs in Memphis, Tenn. In January, 2013 we will be adding the first middle school rugby program at Power Center Academy Middle School. Our teams have two separate practice locations and two different like-minded coaching staffs.
While the teams will be competing against each other for the first time this coming spring, they are now being taught the culture of rugby, and they are being prepared to treat their opponents like gentlemen and handle successes and failures with class. All of our inner city teams compete in the West Tennessee Rugby Conference.
The reasons behind the creation of the Memphis Inner City Rugby Organization
Given the disturbing statistics regarding low graduation rates and poor test scores in Memphis, our organization does everything with a focus on academic excellence. Our slogan, “Fostering Academic Excellence through the Power of Rugby” is not just a saying.
I co-founded the Memphis Inner-City Rugby organization with Devin O’Brien. Both of us are 22-year-old motivated teachers who understand the importance of a quality education and who also understand that the “power” of rugby is a real thing.
We are on a mission to harness that power in order to help our student athletes overcome the odds and play rugby at four-year universities when they graduate from high school.
Times and locations for Memphis Inner-City Rugby Practices
As mentioned earlier in the article, there are currently two practice locations for the Memphis Inner City Rugby Organization. The first pitch, which is reserved for Kingsbury High School, can be found at Gaisman Park, which is located at 4221 Macon, Memphis, Tenn. 38122. Practices for Kingsbury are scheduled for Monday, Wednesday, and Friday afternoons from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
The second practice location for the organization is at the Power City Academy. The address for this school is 6120 Winchester Road, Memphis, Tenn. 38115. The days and times for the Power City Academy practices are on Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday evenings from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Upcoming competition for the Memphis clubs
Both of Memphis Inner City Rugby’s squads will be finishing out the fall semester by traveling to Murfreesboro, Tenn. on December 8, where they will compete in the High School Sevens State Cup Tournament. This will be their first time traveling outside of Western Tennessee and it should prove to be another great learning experience for all of the new ruggers involved.
Where to find more information, and ways Tampa Bay ruggers can help
The Memphis Inner City Rugby Organization maintains both a website and Facebook page providing the latest updates and information about this non-profit entity.
The vast majority of Memphis Inner City Rugby’s young men come from economically disadvantaged families. Therefore, this organization relies on fundraising, volunteerism, and community in order to allow these players to enjoy rugby without spending money.
The organization is grateful for all the support it has received, but the group is still in need of “rugby” donations including cleats, pads, jerseys, shorts and of course money. The link to provide monetary donations, including the sponsorship of young inner-city ruggers, can be found here.
Tampa Bay Rugby Examiner readers that are interested in contributing to the Memphis Inner City Rugby organization can contact co-founder Shane Young either by email or telephone at (973) 975-6995.