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City Heights YMCA Taps Into Olympic Fervor With Rugby Clinic

Harly Losey
Kids play rugby at the Copley-Price YMCA's clinic in this undated photo.

The addition of rugby to this year’s Olympic games has brought renewed attention to the sport, and now kids can learn the game for free in City Heights.

At the Copley Price YMCA, children 7 to 12 years old can pick up the basics at a free rugby clinic.

Nicholas McVicker
Rugby athlete and YMCA Board Member and Volunteer Harly Losey explains the skills kids gain from the rugby clinics he organizes, Aug. 19, 2016.
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Longtime rugby athlete and YMCA Board Member Harly Losey, who runs the clinics, said it helps children of all skill levels stay active.

"Everybody is welcome. Boys, girls, big, small. Slow, fast. It doesn't matter, so the kids that weren't able to get passionate about say soccer, baseball or football — we want to give them a home. A place to go," Losey said.

Losey said the game also teaches discipline, respect and a sense of community. He said he has already seen kids in the clinic display some of these traits on the field.

When a young boy who has a form of autism joined the clinic at the beginning of this month, Losey paired the boy up with a 9-year-old girl. Losey said the girl was "insanely good" and had taken to the sport right away, but asked her to be patient when practicing skills with the young boy.

"You could see that she emerged as this leader, and she kind of took this kid under her wing, and the kid had a blast," he said.

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The 2 p.m. Sunday clinics conclude after this month, but Losey hopes to continue spreading the rugby enthusiasm through the Y's after-school program or by creating an inter-YMCA league.