as recent college graduates, and incoming teach for America corps members, shane noticed devin playing rugby on his facebook page and reached out to toss a ball around.
Upon entering their classrooms, the two were struck by the dramatic lack of opportunity that existed for their students after school. They saw good kids getting mixed up in bad stuff simply because they were left without opportunities, supervision or structure in neighborhoods fraught with gangs, drugs and violence.
So they decided to start a rugby team.
Few had heard of rugby when they held their first interest meetings, for the sport had never been played in the inner city of Memphis. As teachers, they decided to build a mandatory study hall into their team culture, and to predicate their coaching on values they wanted to see not only on the pitch, but also in their classrooms.
After seeing dramatic academic and behavioral development in their student athletes, and feeling the power of holding kids accountable for their success in a whole new way, one team grew into two, then three, then four.
Bylaws, 501(c)3 status and a board of directors, were never in the plans back in august of 2012 - only a desire to invest kids in the pursuit of a hand better than the one they were dealt. But, as participation rates continued to grow, MICR strove to develop programing to fit the needs we saw in our kids' lives.
Today, MICR delivers holistic youth development programing alongside world-class, tackle rugby coaching and competition. We remain a grassroots, volunteer driven organization but - alongside our kids - and from our first team to our sixth - our commitment to expanding the landscape of opportunity available to our city's underserved youth continues to grow.