Fitness Tips from Fitness 2J2: Rugby craze hits First Nations communities
- Joel Pedersen | February 19, 2019
Have you ever heard of the New Zealand All-Blacks Rugby? Or seen the traditional Indigenous Maori Haka war dance? Truly inspiring and impressive that the country is connected by the sport and the Indigenous culture. Rugby is similar to football and soccer with differences such as: the ball must move backwards to go forward and you can kick the ball forward on the move cannot knock it or throw it forward. Not an expensive game to play, fast paced two halves, seven players aside to the fifteen players aside game.
This past month I had the opportunity to meet with youth from the communities of Sandy Bay and Pelican Narrows First Nations, for a two-day learn to play Rugby camp. The program is Rookie Rugby, based from the game of 7’s. Intended to teach youth the skills of rugby, without the direct tackle contact, with the use of Velcro belt flags.
The sport of 7’s will be in the next North American Indigenous Games (NAIG) 2020 in Halifax, and in the Saskatchewan Summer Games 2020 in Lloydminster. Canada has a national team for both women & men, and the sport is in the Olympics. Currently there is one Indigenous player Phil Mack from Toquaht First Nation, Vancouver Island who plays for the National Team.
Saskatchewan Rugby and Northern Sport Culture and Recreation have partnered to build Indigenous Rugby. I am grateful in being a part of this opportunity to assist in these early stages of the sport development with Indigenous communities in the North. Looking forward to players and coaches to have more representation in provincial and national games for our communities, hopefully international.
Last year, we were in Green Lake for our first Rookie Rugby session, it was a small turnout but a great day everyone was tired by the end including me. With the assistance from my friend Rufus and some of his players from the She-Devils Rugby Club out of Meadow Lake. On this past trip north, coaches from the Black Bear Rugby Club from Prince Albert teamed up with me. We had great numbers of boys and girls in Sandy Bay, and in Pelican Narrows we signed in over 70 youth!
We are encouraged by the number of youth who participated, and more impressed by how quickly the kids picked up the skills and the game. Rugby is for every body type and size, athletic ability. Like most sports it builds positive traits like co-operation and mutual respect. The guiding core values: Integrity; Respect: Solidarity; Passion; and Discipline are similar to Indigenous: Tapwewin which speaks of integrity, honour and discipline; Respectful Relationships, Miskasowin which speaks of sense of pride in ourselves and our Indigenous heritage; Responsibility; Education; Culture; and Trust. There are many more principles and values we have in our stories and teachings. This is another way we can have synchronicity through sport for our youth.
Looking forward to coming to a community close to you, with functional fitness and sport. Developing community healthy and positive lifestyle programming, engagement and sustainment. Be active to the best of your ability, set goals and we can assist you in getting there.
Fitness 2J2 is a socially responsible community-based health and wellness company. Contributing to the success and vitality of our communities, promoting healthy and positive lifestyles through fitness and sport, for Indigenous people of all ages and abilities. STRONG HEALTHY PROUD.