The Grizzlies are kicking off their Fall season with a Rugby 101 clinic to teach basic rugby skills. The clinic will be held at Capers Field at the corner of Natchez Trace and Children's Way on the Vanderbilt University campus from 10 am to 12 pm on Saturday. August 13. The clinic will be immediately followed by lunch and beers at a local bar with the team.

The Rugby 101 clinic will include instruction on basic rugby skills like passing, rucking and tackling and will also feature realistic no-tackle drills and scrimmages. Rugby 101 is ideal for guys interested in joining the team and also fans who want to learn more about the sport and meet the team.

Less than three months ago, Vanderbilt was the site of the Bingham Cup, the world championship of gay rugby. The Mark Kendall Bingham Memorial Tournament is named after Mark Bingham, a gay rugby player who died on United Flight 93 on September 11, 2001. Mark played for UC Berkeley and the San Francisco Fog RFC and was one of the founding members of International Gay Rugby (IGR), a registered non-profit dedicated to promoting equality and diversity in the sport. He was also involved in the founding of the Gotham Knights RFC, the gay and inclusive team in New York City, at the time of his death.

The Grizzlies hosted the 2016 tournament and welcomed over 1300 players and hundreds more spectators, coaches and supporters to Nashville for a week of events leading up the tournament itself. In addition to nightly social events, Raptors Coach Andre Snyman hosted player and coaches clinics and instructors from Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network were on hand for suicide prevention training for all interested players.

This was the first time the tournament was held in the southeast and was also the first time in the team's ten year history that the Grizzlies won a trophy in its own right (instead of as a part of a combined team). The Grizzlies will be competing in two more gay rugby tournaments this season in Atlanta and Charlotte and hope to build on what they learned at Bingham.

Jimmy Arredondo, head coach of the Grizzlies, said "We played better rugby during the Hoagland Shield semifinal than we ever have in our history. This season, we are focusing on improving our skills and tactics even further. This is our tenth year and we expect to be more competitive than ever."

The Nashville Grizzlies are a gay rugby club whose purpose is to provide opportunities for men of all sexual orientations to compete in rugby in an a tolerant and accepting atmosphere. The Grizzlies were founded in January 2006 and had their first practice in March 2006. This is the tenth anniversary year of the team. 




Photo: Kristin Sweeting

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