The New Mexico Gallup Rugby Football Club

Navajo Rugby Team Plays on Despite Culture Clash


In Gallup, New Mexico, where, for some, it is easier to get in to trouble than find a fun place to hang out, one group of kids are staying out of trouble and having a good time.

“I was a pretty crazy kid growing up, but rugby gave me direction,” Clayton Coan told Irb.com. “I was staying out late, I got into drugs a little bit. [Rugby] gave me discipline…Something to keep me going.” Coan is a member of the Gallup Rugby Football Club--a team with primarily Navajo players.

Timaris Montano, Navajo, who coaches the rugby team, said that the introduction of rugby brought a clash of cultures.

“Coaching rugby in the Navajo way is wrong. Not because of the sport, but because of the violence that these people see,” Montano said in the video. “And I remember the first two or three years out there practicing this older lady came up to me, in Navajo, and told me ‘What are you doing coaching this? You’re a woman. You’re supposed to bring the peace and harmony into people’s lives’.”

But Montano listened to her heart, and decided that she was doing more for the kids by coaching than sitting on the sidelines.

Watch the team’s story below.

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