Following its successful implementation in the spring, Peak Ambition Rugby is bringing free introductory rugby sessions back to Redwood Meadows this fall.
Bragg Creek resident Adrian Turner, the co-founder of Peak Ambition Rugby, said the four upcoming practices will be held on Saturday mornings from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at Curtis Field. The sessions will run from Sept. 11 to Oct. 2.
According to Turner, he and his business partner and fellow Bragg Creeker Richard Smith came up with the idea for Peak Ambition a few years ago, but it took until the COVID-19 pandemic before they were able to introduce the concept.
Turner, who was previously the president of the Bow Valley Rugby Club in Cochrane, stressed Peak Ambition is “not a club,” but rather a means to introduce youth to the sport in a relaxed setting.
“As a result, if they take an interest, it will give them an idea of what it can be like to join a rugby club, or in the case of some of the guys and girls, what high-school rugby can be like,” he said.
“With regards to interest, we feel it's just a question of time, putting in the time, doing the sessions and putting out the name of Peak Ambition Rugby to sort of understand who we are and what our philosophy is.”
He added older participants will be able to see if they would be interested in trying out for their high school rugby teams.
“If they're getting ready to go to high school, all the high schools in the area we live in – Springbank, Cochrane High, Bow Valley High School all the way down to Okotoks – all have rugby programs,” Turner said. “Again, it's giving those kids the opportunity to come get a taste of what rugby is before they get to high school.”
Both co-founders of Peak Ambition boast impressive rugby resumes; Smith is a former professional rugby union player, who represented Wales at the international level. Turner, who grew up playing the sport competitively in the United Kingdom, is a former coach of the University of Calgary Dinos women’s rugby team and the Calgary Canucks Rugby Club.
“Both of us have been involved in the game for most of our lives,” Turner said. “Myself, it's been around the idea of grassroots development, playing at a reasonable standard, and then Richard, he played right up to the top level.”
Turner said Peak Ambition officially launched earlier this year, offering local youth in west Rocky View County six introductory sessions at the Townsite of Redwood Meadows' Curtis Field in the spring.
He said the coaches are excited to offer four more free sessions this fall, adding the drills and games will teach participants fundamental rugby skills. The sessions are geared toward participants aged eight and older.
For participants who take to the sport, Turner said he and Smith have connections in the local rugby community, and would be able to point hopeful competitive players in the right direction in terms of which clubs they can join.
“The spring sessions, that gave the boys and girls the chance to try rugby before the season started up,” he said. “We had a little bit of interest from a couple of families who, from my understanding, then went to Bow Valley Rugby Club in Cochrane to take part in four more games. That was kind of the idea and hope that we had.”
In the future, Turner said the coaches' goal is to offer pay-to-participate programs, such as summer camps and winter skill development training.
Registration for the upcoming Saturday sessions is required, and can be done either before or on the day of. According to Turner, registration is available at the Townsite of Redwood Meadows, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org