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Rugby and Respect

| Monday, June 8, 2015, 11:33 a.m.
Lydale hangs on Coach Sean Madden as Isiah provides some comic relief before rugby practice at Hawkins Village in Braddock, Monday, May, 18, 2015.
Philip G. Pavely | Trib Total Media
Lydale hangs on Coach Sean Madden as Isiah provides some comic relief before rugby practice at Hawkins Village in Braddock, Monday, May, 18, 2015.
As Coach Sean Madden sits in the back of his vehicle, Matt Rosemeyer plays catch with his sons Charlie Joe (left) and Adam at Hawkins Village in Braddock, Monday, May, 18, 2015.
Philip G. Pavely | Trib Total Media
As Coach Sean Madden sits in the back of his vehicle, Matt Rosemeyer plays catch with his sons Charlie Joe (left) and Adam at Hawkins Village in Braddock, Monday, May, 18, 2015.
Coaches Matt Rosemeyer (left) and Sean Madden hand out Harlequins Youth Rugby jerseys on the first day of practice at Hawkins Village in Braddock, Monday, May, 18, 2015.
Philip G. Pavely | Trib Total Media
Coaches Matt Rosemeyer (left) and Sean Madden hand out Harlequins Youth Rugby jerseys on the first day of practice at Hawkins Village in Braddock, Monday, May, 18, 2015.
Youth rugby mentor Sean Maddengoes over a few positive points with his rugby players at Hawkins Village in Braddock, Monday, May, 18, 2015.
Philip G. Pavely | Trib Total Media
Youth rugby mentor Sean Maddengoes over a few positive points with his rugby players at Hawkins Village in Braddock, Monday, May, 18, 2015.
Coach Sean Madden lines the kids up so they can sweep the field of litter before rugby practice at Hawkins Village in Braddock, Monday, May, 18, 2015.
Philip G. Pavely | Trib Total Media
Coach Sean Madden lines the kids up so they can sweep the field of litter before rugby practice at Hawkins Village in Braddock, Monday, May, 18, 2015.
Adam Rosemeyer watches the game from the sidelines as he sits out a series at Hawkins Village in Braddock, Monday, May, 11, 2015.
Philip G. Pavely | Trib Total Media
Adam Rosemeyer watches the game from the sidelines as he sits out a series at Hawkins Village in Braddock, Monday, May, 11, 2015.
As rugby mentors and coaches, Sean Madden and Matt Rosemeyer lead their team through a pre-game de-littering of their field so they can practice at Hawkins Village in Braddock, Monday, May, 11, 2015.
Philip G. Pavely | Trib Total Media
As rugby mentors and coaches, Sean Madden and Matt Rosemeyer lead their team through a pre-game de-littering of their field so they can practice at Hawkins Village in Braddock, Monday, May, 11, 2015.
Coach Sean Madden instructs his new team on how to play the game of rugby during a practice at Hawkins Village in Braddock, Monday, May, 18, 2015.
Philip G. Pavely | Trib Total Media
Coach Sean Madden instructs his new team on how to play the game of rugby during a practice at Hawkins Village in Braddock, Monday, May, 18, 2015.
Coach Matt Rosemeyer teaches his players at Hawkins Village how to form a line so they can pass downfield during a Harlequins Youth Rugby practice at Hawkins Village in Braddock, Monday, May, 18, 2015.
Philip G. Pavely | Trib Total Media
Coach Matt Rosemeyer teaches his players at Hawkins Village how to form a line so they can pass downfield during a Harlequins Youth Rugby practice at Hawkins Village in Braddock, Monday, May, 18, 2015.
Coach Sean Madden instructs his players at Hawkins Village how to play the game rugby in Braddock, Monday, April 6, 2015.
Philip G. Pavely | Trib Total Media
Coach Sean Madden instructs his players at Hawkins Village how to play the game rugby in Braddock, Monday, April 6, 2015.
Matt Rosemeyer teaches his team how to pass and move the ball down field at Hawkins Village in Braddock, Monday, April 6, 2015.
Philip G. Pavely | Trib Total Media
Matt Rosemeyer teaches his team how to pass and move the ball down field at Hawkins Village in Braddock, Monday, April 6, 2015.
The acrobatic aspect of youth rugby appeals to Hawkins Village players in Braddock, Monday, May, 11, 2015.
Philip G. Pavely | Trib Total Media
The acrobatic aspect of youth rugby appeals to Hawkins Village players in Braddock, Monday, May, 11, 2015.
Tom passes the ball during a rugby practice as Shaheem and Lyndin halt their pursuit at Hawkins Village in Braddock, Monday, May, 11, 2015.
Philip G. Pavely | Trib Total Media
Tom passes the ball during a rugby practice as Shaheem and Lyndin halt their pursuit at Hawkins Village in Braddock, Monday, May, 11, 2015.
Shaheem makes a dive in practice as Jarrol (center) and Raymer look on at Hawkins Village in Braddock, Monday, May, 18, 2015.
Philip G. Pavely | Trib Total Media
Shaheem makes a dive in practice as Jarrol (center) and Raymer look on at Hawkins Village in Braddock, Monday, May, 18, 2015.
For 20 seasons, members of the Pittsburgh Harlequins Rugby Football Association have been mentoring at-risk kids in local communities, including the scrimmage at Hawkins Village in Braddock, Monday, April 6, 2015. Kids between 8-14 are mentored by players as they spend two nights a week learning the new sport.
Philip G. Pavely | Trib Total Media
For 20 seasons, members of the Pittsburgh Harlequins Rugby Football Association have been mentoring at-risk kids in local communities, including the scrimmage at Hawkins Village in Braddock, Monday, April 6, 2015. Kids between 8-14 are mentored by players as they spend two nights a week learning the new sport.
Lyndin leans up against Coach Forrest Gardner during practice at Hawkins Village in Braddock, Monday, May 11, 2015.
Philip G. Pavely | Trib Total Media
Lyndin leans up against Coach Forrest Gardner during practice at Hawkins Village in Braddock, Monday, May 11, 2015.
Players are reminded of the rules at the start of a new rugby season at Hawkins Village in Braddock, Monday, April 6, 2015. There is a three strike and you're out rule for violating team rules before a kid is removed from the team.
Philip G. Pavely | Trib Total Media
Players are reminded of the rules at the start of a new rugby season at Hawkins Village in Braddock, Monday, April 6, 2015. There is a three strike and you're out rule for violating team rules before a kid is removed from the team.
The East Liberty rugby team walks to the field as they prepare to scrimmage the Braddock team in Larimer Monday, April 27, 2015.
Philip G. Pavely | Trib Total Media
The East Liberty rugby team walks to the field as they prepare to scrimmage the Braddock team in Larimer Monday, April 27, 2015.
'It's a great equalizer in that everybody comes in at the same point that nobody has played the game,' explains coach Sean Madden at a rugby practice in Braddock, Monday, April 27, 2015.
Philip G. Pavely | Trib Total Media
'It's a great equalizer in that everybody comes in at the same point that nobody has played the game,' explains coach Sean Madden at a rugby practice in Braddock, Monday, April 27, 2015.
The East Liberty defense persues Braddock during a scrimmage in Larimer Monday, April 27, 2015.
Philip G. Pavely | Trib Total Media
The East Liberty defense persues Braddock during a scrimmage in Larimer Monday, April 27, 2015.
The Harlequins Youth Rugby Mentoring Program pits kids together in a scrimmage in Larimer Monday, April 27, 2015. A challenge for the program is keeping kids involved before they 'strike out' of the program for violating team rules three times.
Philip G. Pavely | Trib Total Media
The Harlequins Youth Rugby Mentoring Program pits kids together in a scrimmage in Larimer Monday, April 27, 2015. A challenge for the program is keeping kids involved before they 'strike out' of the program for violating team rules three times.
Adam (left) and Charlie Joe Rosemeyer leave the playing field at Hawkins Village with Coach Sean Madden in Braddock, Monday, May 18, 2015.
Philip G. Pavely | Trib Total Media
Adam (left) and Charlie Joe Rosemeyer leave the playing field at Hawkins Village with Coach Sean Madden in Braddock, Monday, May 18, 2015.
From the back of his vehicle, Coach Sean Madden tries to recruit a kid for next year's team at Hawkins Village in Braddock, Monday, May, 18 2015. Looking on is Coach Matt Rosemeyer, who is flanked by his sons Adam (left) and Charlie Joe.
Philip G. Pavely | Trib Total Media
From the back of his vehicle, Coach Sean Madden tries to recruit a kid for next year's team at Hawkins Village in Braddock, Monday, May, 18 2015. Looking on is Coach Matt Rosemeyer, who is flanked by his sons Adam (left) and Charlie Joe.
Harlequins Youth Rugby mentors Forrest Gardner (left) and Matt Rosedale leave the field at Hawkins Village following practice in Braddock, Monday, April 6, 2015.
Philip G. Pavely | Trib Total Media
Harlequins Youth Rugby mentors Forrest Gardner (left) and Matt Rosedale leave the field at Hawkins Village following practice in Braddock, Monday, April 6, 2015.

For two hours a week, members of the Pittsburgh Harlequins Rugby Football Association teach kids how to play the sport.

The youth mentoring program is a way to try to keep kids in violence-prone neighborhoods active and safe.

“I have been to seven funerals in 19 years,” laments couch and founder Sean Madden during an abbreviated practice.

Half of his team was missing this session at Hawkins Village in Braddock. Players were attending visitation for a slain teenager in their East Liberty housing community.

Such consequences keep Madden and the other volunteer coaches going. They've reached kids in Braddock, Larimer, Garfield and the Hill District.

“They love the attention and want to be a part of something — and it's fun!” Madden says. “I think it matters to see one or two kids with that sparkle in their eye.”

Throughout their 10-week season, the Harlequins introduce life lessons as they teach rugby, talking about accountability, responsibility, teamwork and the importance of school.

Many studies show a correlation between playing a team sport and success in school, and potentially, lower crime and teen pregnancy rates.

“It's a great equalizer,” Madden says, “as everybody comes in at the same point. ... Nobody has played the game before.”

Phil Pavely is a Trib Total Media photographer. Reach him at ppavely@tribweb.com.

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