IN Shaler Summer 2017 - Page 35

organization called Rugby PA, which includes a mix of single schools and club teams throughout western Pennsylvania. As a sport, rugby football has a reputation for being dangerous—a stereotype that Danka hopes North Pitt United can overcome through basic education. “Rugby is viewed as being too rough due to the fact that there are no pads. Because there are no pads, we have to be even more careful with the way we instruct players in the contact zone. Everything is controlled,” he explains, adding that there are no “shoulder charges” or hitting a player without “wrapping,” like in football. “Many football programs have looked to rugby-style tackling for safer alternatives to the contact zone in football,” Danka says. Leading this movement, according to him, is the head coach of the Seattle Seahawks, Pete Carroll. The sport also requires a high level of respect between players, coaches and referees. “We live in a society with a lot of screaming from the sidelines and stands,” notes Danka. “In rugby, everything is about respect. Only one person speaks to the sir [referee], and that is the on-field captain. Everything must be funneled through that player when emotions arise.” In addition, after every match, players from both teams meet for a post-match meal with the referee, coaches and parents. “The post-match meal is always a hard habit to break for players, since many sports would not even think about sharing a meal with their opponent after battling for 70 minutes,” Danka says. “Our players have been extremely respectful on and off the pitch.” Athletes interested in learning more about the sport can participate in a youth co-ed program this summer. The program will take place on Thursday evenings in June and July at St. Ursula Church on Duncan Avenue in Allison Park. The cost is $50 per person, and each player receives a T-shirt and rugby ball. For more information about North Pitt United RFC, call 724.882.3131 or send an email to You can also find information about the club on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram by searching @NorthPittUnited.   n Shaler Area Varsity Boys Christian Henning Neil Conley Shaler Area Varsity Girls Cailey Jones New Club Ellie Ha fvFrW"vF&VvFVfVFW"F6ƖFgSWFW"G'FvFR6FVƖRv7B6&7FVrrFff@G&ff2GW&rFRFV( 26fWF6ז&vfvWGFrF&VvFVfVFW GW&rF6F26V6B6W"7VW"#r6w2630