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Kids who play unusual sports in Maryland

sports rugby2WebKids who play rugby

Columbia resident Jake Soriano, a senior at Calvert Hall College High School in Towson, grew up playing soccer, basketball and football and was on his pool’s summer swim team. It wasn’t until he was , 11, however that he found his real passion — rugby.

Jake joined the Ellicott City Express, which is a rec program that has co-ed touch rugby teams for kids 15 and under. When he got older, he joined a tackle team and now plays on his school rugby team at Calvert Hall.

“It was like a brotherhood,” he says of the sport. “I like the physical aspect of the game. You have to be precise with your hits. You have to tackle in a way that doesn’t hurt you.”

Rugby is like football without the pads. It’s played with an oval ball that can only be passed backwards, but can be run in any direction. In touch rugby, you can stop a player by touching him with both hands on the shorts. In regular rugby, low tackles can be made. In both, the ball can also be kicked. Points are scored by grounding the ball in the goal area or kicking it between the uprights and over the crossbar.

Jake’s sister, Jenna, 13, also plays touch rugby. “The camaraderie is amazing compared to any other sport they have played,” says their mother, Gayle. “They welcome anyone and they are open to teaching the sport.”

Kids who participate in archerySports ArcheryWeb

Max Scott, 12, of Chestertown is a bit of a modern day Robin Hood. Not because he steals from the rich to give to the poor, but because he’s a good shot with a bow and arrow.

Max competes with the Shore Shots 4H Archery Club of Kent County and has been for about two years. His father, Brian, participated in archery when he was a teenager and his interest in the sport has been passed down.

“He had done soccer and running as well, but we dropped soccer,” Brian says. According to Max, soccer was boring and stressful. “Archery, on the other hand, is engaging the whole time. It’s individual, you don’t have to wait,” says his mom, Karen.

Max says he likes the mental aspect of the sport and the need to be consistent. He did well last fall, coming in third in two categories — target and 3D target for compact bows. The club meets twice a month, but Brian and Max practice every night in their back yard, shooting into a bale of hay. When a catalogue comes from the Lancaster Archery Shop in Pennsylvania, the two of them pour over it.

“This is something he’s definitely sticking with,” his mom says. “This is his thing.”

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