When we talk about building the game, or growing the sport, it comes from more than just the development on the field and the fans in the stands. Building the sport is about exposing people to new experiences, and opening them to new opportunities. This is what happened to Dy’Sheanna Adger.
Adger, a student at C.E. Byrd High in Shreveport, LA, received one of the Premiership Rugby Scholarships sponsored by the Friends of the British Council. Adger has been given the opportunity to develop her rugby skills in one of the most lucrative rugby countries, London, England. She will get to work with some of the top rugby coaches and players in the world.
While on the surface, the benefit of this scholarship is in the travel and the rugby development, the true value of this is the exposure for opportunity. Not just the exposure for Adger, but the exposure for the city of Shreveport, and the surrounding community.
In a city where new residents, and new traditions, are not commonplace, the opportunity for Adger to go overseas allows the sport of rugby to be more real to those who may not have heard it. It puts new eyes on rugby, to offer different opportunities, while taking advantage of talents that people would typically feel are limited to sports like football and basketball.
While people within the rugby community may have an awareness of these offerings, the majority of the United States is still discovering this. As a Black American, woman, Adger represents a population of people that are just beginning to get exposed to rugby, but still haven’t had the chance to be fully embraced by the sport. This opportunity gives a chance for the rugby community to penetrate a demographics that are either told not to play contact sports as a woman, or do not have as much awareness of opportunities outside of the traditional sports.
Adgers going to London will hopefully provide a slew of storied experiences that she can bring back to her team, as well as friends and family. Attract a few more fans and players to the sport. Congratulations to Dy’Sheanna Adger on this reward and opportunity.