Griffins Girls Rugby Camp Weekend in Review Saturday February 17th

Saturday’s a rugby day! The Griffins DC girls high school rugby team woke up Saturday morning on February 17th and met coach Kat at the metro to kick off a weekend of learning about rugby, bonding as a team, and mastering the silver line.

Trains running on the weekend schedule, the silver line making limited stops and 3 transfers to travel to the mysterious end of the silver line did not damper the growing excitement to hit the pitch. As we shuttled to our first practice session, the Griffins rugby choir showed off their hidden singing talents. Maybe the next Beyoncé is in our midst?

The Griffins arrived at a beautiful turf field in Herndon Virginia, dug into some healthy snacks to refuel from our long journey there and booted up to play some rugby. Our morning session was full of lots of games, passing fundamentals, learning how to communicate with our teammates and most excitedly learning how to tackle! With the help of a tackle ring and pads, Griffins rugby discovered their strength in contact and set the stage that opponents should beware.

As we began to cool down from our morning session, so did the weather. As hail began to fall, the Griffins took cover in the pavilion and a sandwich assembly line served delicious turkey and hummus sandwiches for a quick lunch before heading to the hotel for team meditation. Getting 18 high school girls to put away their phone and lay on the ground to reflect and visualize on their day and set goals for our afternoon session was silly at first. But with some deep breathing, they relaxed, refocused and even dozed off for a quick power nap.

For our evening session, we were met with lots of snow but as every rugby team quickly learns, there is always a plan B. We shuttled over to NOVA field house to practice on an indoor turf field, a first for many Griffins. In this session, we learned about ball placement, running straight, rucking and supporting our teammates even when they start getting a little grumpy and hangry during end of our touch scrimmage.

For dinner, we needed something fast and nutritious after a really long day so what better time to culture ourselves and discover vietnamese food and why steaming bowls of nutritious pho were just what we needed to warm us up after a very long and very cold but FUN day! Headed back to our hotel and our 6 man suites for dessert, reflection and lights out by 11pm!

Sunday February 18th. Morning: The Griffins woke up Sunday morning for one of the highlights of the trip, the hotel buffet breakfast. The girls loaded up their plates with scrambled eggs and homemade waffles and met for a morning team meeting.

Coach C put her teacher hat on and divided the team into two groups to discuss and report back their expectations of coaches, captains and teammates. The Griffins talked about their competitive spirit, positive attitude and how to find a balance between having fun and working hard. Griffins team goals reflect the diverse group of players on the team and we learned a new term, “socio­emotional intelligence” as a strategy to recognize that everyone learns and responds to different types of coaching and at different paces. Recognizing we are a relatively new team, Griffins agreed that patience will be key to our success.

We put our new team goals to the test when we arrived at our outdoor turf practice field covered in a dusting of snow. With a few grumbles of disbelief, the Griffins coaching staff reassured the girls that playing rugby in all types of conditions is a lot of fun and a part of the sport. Lesson one in mental toughness.

Coach Kaitlyn started the day telling the team the powerful story of Jillian Potter, the bright orange water bottles we gave out to everyone with her logo on them and discussing the meaning of perseverance, determination and that “with you” means having your teammates back on and off the pitch.

As the Griffins got moving and started warming up, the snow melted and it turned into a beautiful day of rugby. The girls built on their fundamentals, practiced positive team talk and learned how the actions of one can affect the whole team. Coming together at the end of camp for their final cheer, the Griffins reflected on the hard work they put in and set the tone for a fun filled season.

After practice, the Griffins headed back to the hotel for a final team meeting to share what they learned and vote for a team captain. Congratulations to AJ and Faith who will be the Griffins fearless leaders this spring! One last time the Griffins piled into the shuttle to take on the metro and it’s weekend schedule.

Griffins came out victorious with a much quicker metro ride back into the city to meet up with Coach Joanne at Scion Restaurant. With one more team meal to fill up on delicious food, the Griffins gathered for a team picture, said their goodbyes and headed home with new rugby knowledge, skills and most importantly friendships. Go Griffins!


2016 finalslady griffinsWashington DC Youth Rugby is proud to sponsor Bell Multicultural School in Columbia Heights with boys and girls high school rugby teams. The boys team is was founded in 2013 by Alex Olivas with a few 7s and 10s matches. Bell also has a girls program founded in 2014. Both programs are having success on and off the field. We are so proud of everyone for their hard work and commitment to rugby.

The program is helping more kids in DC learn valuable team and leadership skills, exposing them to other cultures, and providing a safe, FUN after-school activity.  In addition to games and practice, we ensure students are attending classes, doing their school work and achieving their academic goals.