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Legend has it that in 1823, a young man named william webb ellis from the town of rugby, england picked up a ball during a game of traditional football and ran towards the opposition’s goal line. It was on this day that rugby was born.
Generations later, rugby has evolved into a global sport and at its heart lies a unique ethos and cultural way of being. Discipline, respect, fellowship, brotherhood and a gentleman like sense of fair play has defined rugby as the game it is today.
For Ædelhard, rugby goes beyond the game.
Ædelhard was founded when former rugby player, Darrell Kopke, met bespoke tailor to the stars, Michael Nguyen. First, they discovered they share core personal values all of which were derived from rugby: comradery, honour, respect, and integrity. Rugby lessons stretch far beyond the pitch and both founders have carried those lessons throughout their entire lives. They knew that rugby and rugby culture could become a beacon of these shared values and indeed, that the world needs more rugby. Second, they discussed ill-fitting and uncomfortable business attire and how performance on the rugby pitch can and should transfer to the office.
Those were the beginnings of Ædelhard.
Our thesis is simple. Because sport is a powerful tool in shaping culture well beyond the borders of the pitch, arena, and field, and the sport that best embodies civility, respect, inclusivity, and toughness is rugby, the world needs more rugby.
Sport as a cultural influence is absolutely powerful. As a reflection of current societal discourse and as an influence on the masses, sports, much like music and religion, weaves its way into the cultural fabric of our communities globally. Sport is religion to many. As fans it fuels our competitive nature and brings diverse people together. As players we learn teamwork, goal setting and responsibility in action. Top athletes are heroic figures in our society and role models to our children. What our children see they mimic.
The world needs more rugby because it can be argued that no other sport is as inclusive as rugby. We can count on a sport with a code of conduct rooted in chivalry and respect to positively contribute to the evolution of our communities. We can count on a game that is accessible to all body types, genders and skill levels to improve inclusiveness. We can count on a game that is rooted in civility to enhance communication and tolerance in our communities. And it is accessible to the under-privileged as well. It requires only a ball and a pitch to play and therefore is available to any under- funded community.
Encouraging diversity into rugby means ensuring players from all levels of education and income, any nationality, religion, gender or sexual orientation, from urban neighbourhoods or rural communities alike have the opportunity to play. Grounding them on a value system of chivalry, politeness, manners, commitment, hard work, respect, and teamwork will be the saving grace of any great societal divide.
The call to action is clear. Support grass roots rugby programs in your communities. Let’s step up coaching levels and elevate the training of youth rugby. Ædelhard is donating 2% of its sales to developing youth rugby. It is our goal to have rugby become a Top 5 Sport in America by 2022. Help us to achieve this goal.