Former England International rugby player and Belmont Shore Rugby Club coach Ed Robinson updates us regularly on rugby in Long Beach.
England’s historic Eton College is recognized as one of the world’s most respected learning institutions. Often credited to their successful perspective is the wisdom of 15th Century philosopher Grantland Rice. He famously wrote, “When that great scorer comes to mark against your name, he writes not if you won or lost, but how you played the game.”
Etonians have always believed that many of their students’ most important lessons of life are learned on “the playing fields of Eton” and this maxim is central to their teaching, coaching and playing perspective. Certainly sports can play a very important part in overall psycho-social development but, in this increasingly competitive world, the ‘winning ethic’ is often paramount.
Legendary football coach Vince Lombardi declared, “Defeat is worse than death because you have to live with it.” This type of pressure to win at all costs can unfortunately sometimes have a very negative effect on children’s values, social development and psyche. Important values of fair play, honesty, decency and respect are often forgotten.
This brings us to the playing fields of Long Beach, and the rapidly developing world of local rugby. Belmont Shore is arguably USA’s best team that undoubtedly leads the nation in youth development through rugby. All the Belmont adult and youth teams want to win their game, and they usually do, but possibly even more impressive is their consistent focus on being humble in victory and gracious in defeat.
Belmont Shore Club President Stu Ledsam has put together an impressive group of international coaches and assistants who focus on excellent playing standards, discipline and respect. The coaching staff have all played and coached overseas at a high level and this wealth of worldly experience is really paying dividends here in Southern California.
Director of coaching is Tony Balasurya, who hails from Sri Lanka. Senior team coach is Irishman Ray Egan, who is ably assisted by Phil Ayres from England.
Among Belmont’s talented senior player pool are Pila Ionyi (an international player from Tonga and USA Club Player of the Year) and the spirited Danny Thomas from Wales via UCLA. Heading up the prolific Youth section is Ramsey Tuaua, who hails from Samoa where he excelled as a player and coach. Ramsey’s young, enthusiastic group now totals around 500 participants and is growing every week as the good word spreads.
Coaches’ and players’ families hail from USA, Australia, New Zealand, Britain and the Polynesian Islands. All players are given tee shirts displaying the word “whakaraupapa” which is New Zealand Maori for “Discipline” and this, along with respect and civility, is their mantra. They represent everything that’s commendable in sports and citizenship.
Belmont Shore RFC encourages you all to come and check them out. You will not be disappointed! Information on upcoming games etc can be found on www.belmontshorerfc.com.