Written by Pat Cotter
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As this weekend was a rest day from the 2020 rugby season it gave the Lanna Lions the opportunity to run another youth development session with 22 kids of all age groups attending. A large group of boys and girls came from the House of Hope Foundation and some fanatical rugby parents also brought along their off spring for a thoroughly entertaining session run by Lions founders Tom Stubley & Dave McRitchie.
The Sankhampeng Kanta Anusorn School, which was this week confirmed as the new home of the Lions and the venue for the rest of the Lanna 10’s Rugby League season, was the host for the afternoon’s entertainment. With none of the kids having any rugby experience it was right back to basics with catch and pass drills to get things underway.
After the heavy monsoon rains this week the pitch was very wet and muddy, which only added to the fun because as we all know, kids love to wallow in the mud! After the introduction to the strange shaped rugby ball the kids were split up into two groups and some relay drills were conducted to bring a spirit of competitiveness to proceedings.
Standing on the sidelines Richard Tierney a passionate Leinster RFC supporter said “As a child and for most of my life before my knees gave in, I played rugby and loved it”
“It had been our intention to get Kevin involved and to learn rugby in Thailand but unfortunately, with the Lions based in Lamphun it didn’t work for our family.”
By now the kids had been slipping, sliding, getting soaked and covered in mud and they were in bliss and the laughter was ringing around the ground. It’s so rewarding to see children interacting and the spontaneous hilarity brings a glow to the heart. At the end of those drills there was time for a quick water break before they were split up into four teams for their introduction to touch rugby.
What ensued was a free for all but there were some good skills already coming through and some of the boys and girls were showing that there is talent there that will undoubtedly be nurtured as the development program progresses. With sponsorship and hard work it’s hoped to have plenty of Lions cubs team’s in the future to help the growth of rugby in the region, as well as developing life and social skills and a channel to funnel the youthful frustrations of growing up.
“Getting word that the Lions had moved to Chiang Mai was a godsend, a blessing” Richard continued, “Kevin and his pal Anwar had a great day, Tom is a wonderful teacher, the session was full on, no time for standing around”
Khun Anne from the House of Hope Foundation was happily surprised how easily they took to an unfamiliar sport and the fun that they had. Enjoyment, laughter, and competitiveness is an addictive mix.
Dave and Tom did a great job putting the kids through their paces and will be looking to expand their group of volunteer coaches as the program grows.
Richard had the last word saying “Every member of the Lions made them feel welcome and a part of the group. Kevin can’t wait to play his first game, so much so, I have had to cancel my golf on Saturday to take him to watch the Lions in action at the upcoming TRU Chiang Mai 7s tournament”. “When we got home Kevin and his pal went running, passing his rugbyball and spent the evening watching rugby on YouTube”
“Thank you Lions for you have lit up the heart of my 12 year old son”
And that right there ladies and gentlemen is what makes it all worth while!