Moon superintendent starts rugby program
TribLIVE Sports Videos
After talking to Curt Baker for a few minutes, it's clear how passionate he is about rugby.
“No other sport gives you such an intense sense of selflessness and unified purpose,” Baker said. “I believe this is why rugby players all over the world feel such a passion for the game and such a feeling of brotherhood.”
It's from that passion that the Moon superintendent will start a rugby program at the school and serve as head coach.
“I think the core reason to coaching a team sport goes to a broader concept. I think it's really significant and really important that the superintendent not lose touch with his students,” Baker added. “For me personally, this is as great a vehicle that exits to be able to remain close to students within the school system.”
In 2003, Baker started a rugby program at Unionville High School, just outside of Philadelphia, and molded it in to one of the best in the state. En route to winning the 2013 Rugby Pennsylvania state championship last spring, Baker defeated another rugby power — Burrell — in the semifinals.
“They were huge last year,” Burrell coach Ron Zanella said. “He did a good job. He got them ready.”
Baker said during his time as Unionville's coach, he saw tremendous growth within the athletes he had, many of whom went on to play during college, and that's what he hopes to bring to Moon.
“I think it's been warmly received,” Baker said. “I think that at the end of the day our job is to provide a great learning experience to our students. If this adds to that process I think that's warmly embraced.”
While at a varsity basketball game last week, Baker described an incident where a student came up to him and expressed how excited he was for the rugby team, and that'd he helped recruit as many people as he could.
“That's about as good as news as I could hear,” Baker said.
Often labeled as “football without pads” by those unfamiliar with the sport, rugby tends to resemble the wide-open play of soccer more than anything.
As a lifelong rugger, Barker played collegiality at the University of Southern California, Tufts University and the London School of Economics before playing several more years of club rugby. Both of his sons played for Penn State University. As a testament to the camaraderie and self-discipline taught through playing rugby, Baker shares an excerpt from Nando Parrado's book “Miracle in the Andes: 72 Days on the Mountain and My Long Trek Home.” The passage explains the bond Parrado formed with his teammates.
“To the Christian Brothers (rugby club), rugby was more than a game, it was sport raised to the level of a moral discipline,” Parrodo wrote. “At its heart was the ironclad belief that no other sport taught so devoutly the importance of striving, suffering and sacrificing in the pursuit of a common goal.”
The rugby program will be school affiliated, but not school sponsored since it isn't PIAA sport. The team will participate in Rugby Pennsylvania, which is the state ordinance of USA Rugby. Signups and a general information meeting will be on Jan. 7. The season will run from March through May with scrimmages starting in late February.
Justin Criado is a freelance writer.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Rossi: Kentucky just isn’t going to lose
- Pittsburgh angles to keep Heinz headquarters in merger
- Soccer career continues for Springdale grad Weimerskirch
- New Ken man ‘holed up’ in house
- Penguins’ protracted slump continues with 5-2 loss at Carolina
- Kentucky labors little in 78-39 rout of West Virginia
- Toyota to carry new attitude into production
- Man charged with killing Larimer man last year
- Michigan man takes Heinz to court over Dip & Squeeze ketchup packet
- Narduzzi set to begin more critical evaluations during Pitt football spring drills
- Roundup: Headhunter reportedly solicits candidates to replace BNY Mellon CEO ; Yahoo says it will buy back $2B in stock; more