Phaidra Knight gives advice to young girls interested in rugby

Strength in storytelling: Phaidra Knight sits down with young girls to talk about her experiences as an athlete with hopes to inspire the next generation.

At the latest World Rugby Seven Series stop in Hong Kong, USA Rugby Board member and World Rugby Hall of Fame inductee, Phaidra Knight, stopped into the American Club Hong Kong for an intimate conversation with young girls who aspire to play rugby. Her time with the girls started with a clinic and ended with a reassuring discussion about how Knight’s experience as an athlete might be similar to what the girls are facing now.

“We first huddled up to do some passing drills, went over some game day scenarios and techniques then we played touch rugby” Knight explained.

“Afterwards, we went to the American Club to have some lunch with the girls and their parents. During which time I shared my experience as an athlete with hopes that the girls can benefit from some of my insights.”

“When you are younger you look up,” Knight said leading into why she feels it is important to share her story to young female athletes. “I remember looking up to the athletes before me and thinking ‘Wow, it must be incredible to be in that place.’ But when you actually get to that place, you find that it certainly doesn’t come without trials and tribulations.”

“I think it is important to let these girls know that the things they are experiencing – their own trials and tribulations associated with their desire to play rugby – are to be expected.”

Knight explained to the girls that greatness comes from turns of adversity, sole searching, and testing.

“The things the girls face now – and will possibly face for the rest of their life if they are on the path to greatness – will not get any more comfortable. However, there is a point where you will become comfortable being uncomfortable”.

 Hong Kong American Club

Knight also explained to the young crowd that a lot of the pathway is already paved thanks to the generations before them.

With that, she had a special message not just for the girls in the room but girls in general, “My message to girls out there is to take part on this pathway and play, play, play. Get involved and don’t be discouraged in the process” Knight said.

However, her encouragement wasn’t without a piece of advice.

“I want girls to have fun, and enjoy themselves. But I also want them to stay vigilant – we still have work to do as girls in this sport. With all of this fun comes with a bit of responsibility. They can use their young voices to effect change.”

Knight was delighted to take part in this event, and she hopes that the girls took reminders that they can recall for years to come.

“Hopefully, when these girls feel down and in the dark, they can recall our conversation and feel empowered to push through the turbulence. I certainly do. I think about people who have talked to me, who have mentored me, who shared their stories – and it always gets me through” she concluded.

A special thank you goes out to Rimmo and Tommie Jolly for their support in bringing this event together, along with Laura Cowan of the Hong Kong International School.

Looking to get your child involved with rugby? Visit Play Rugby Today to see how your young aspiring athletes can get started today.