A Winning Formula on and off the Field
Hyde Pride, Washington’s only all-African American school rugby side, has a Kiwi connection that extends beyond its game of choice. Established in 1999, the team at Hyde Leadership Public Charter School has been sponsored by the NZ embassy since 2002. Ambassador John Wood stumbled upon the school whilst looking for a new ground to host the embassy’s annual rugby tournament – the Ambassador’s Shield. “We discovered that Hyde school had a pretty good ground,” he says. “We found they had a pretty good rugby program, too. But no money.” The embassy adopted Hyde Pride, raising $10,000 for the team from tournament profits last year. Head coach and founder Tal Bayer describes the team’s story as amazing. As well as its phenomenal success on the field, the game has undeniably helped team members, many of whom were sent to Hyde as a last resort for disciplinary problems, in their own personal development. More important than winning games, Bayer points out, is the fact that every Hyde Pride player has gone on to attend college.