The Nan Oo School had recently received a donation and we arrived to a courtyard full of bamboo canes being chopped up. This isn’t an unusual sight; last time it was planks of wood. In less than 15 minutes the space was cleared and doused with water to prevent the inevitable dust storm created when 30-odd kids run around chasing each other like Gremlins occasionally trying to catch a ball.
This was the first rugby session run by local players from the Doh Kyoung Thar School. Three young lads - So Thiha, Thein Maung Nyein and La Min Htet who live in North Dagon near DKT and have been attending the school since 2015. They recently took part in the Little Dragons Reproductive Health course and have been playing tag rugby for nearly a year. Before learning the beautiful game their hobbies were football, chin lone (cane ball) and singing but now they count rugby among them.
The DKT kids had managed to run their own session before Christmas amongst themselves so it was now time for them to run a session with the Nan Oo kids. Their feedback was interesting and reflected the same issues faced by non-native coaches. They really enjoyed working with the kids but had to repeatedly explain drills, as all the younger ones wanted to do was their own thing.
What makes it doubly difficult is that many of the Nan Oo kids are orphans from Shan State whose first language isn’t Burmese. So even with the use of a megaphone, they still might not get it. Many of the drills have to be demonstrated as opposed to explained which is probably a better way to get the message across anyway.
This is a huge step forward for the Little Dragons Rugby in terms of sustainability. We can now have the DKT kids run guided and independent sessions and start spreading the game across Yangon.
Next up for the Little Dragons is some of the female players from DKT will run a session at Nan Oo, a Little Dragons’ day out in partnership with the British School and eventually the DKT team will tour to Mandalay to run a session and play a mini tournament with children from the Phaung Daw Oo Monastic School.