‘Like Big Boys Do’ – rugby coach pens children’s book that encourages kindness, politeness

By Melissa Talbert November 18, 2020

 

 Politeness and kindness are qualities that would typically be miles away from any association with the sport of rugby. But, Schezelle Fleming, a rugby coach at the South East Port of Spain Secondary School, in Trinidad and Tobago, it seems would beg to differ.

Following the disruption of sports because of COVID-19, Fleming started writing children's books focusing on themes like behaviour.

 She wanted to share some important life lessons with young boys between the ages of three and seven and so, published her first book 'Like Big Boys Do' in June.

As the name suggests, the book 'Like Big Boys Do' acts as a guide for little boys becoming big boys, and the lessons are a far cry from what Fleming preaches on the pitch about tackling.

An excerpt from the book reads: "But of course there are times when I get quite upset. Like when a friend takes a toy I wasn't done with yet. Instead of kicking and screaming, I breathe and count - 1, 2 and I calmly use my words like big boys do."

Fleming admits the endeavor was inspired by her son.

"My son inspired me to write my book 'Like Big Boys Do'. He loves to read and is a stickler for 'Mummy, the book said...'," Fleming shared.

 The former rugby player is also in the midst of writing another book. This time about honesty “because let’s be honest, it’s very common for children to explore the world of lies when they get to a certain age. Even though it’s a natural part of their growth, it still helps to show them why it’s important, to tell the truth,” said Fleming.

Though the messages that are found in the books are seemingly different from the ones rugby sends, Fleming believes rugby does not necessarily have to be overly aggressive.

"I feel like rugby is a sport that helps you find that balance,” she said.

 “It’s not about being excessive, it’s about being assertive and confident,” she noted in an article titled, 'Fleming: I feel like rugby is a sport that helps you find that balance,' published by World Rugby.

One way rugby can encourage balance is by regulating training. As a rugby coach, it's Fleming's duty to ensure the environment is appropriate for building capable players.

Along with inadequate clubs and rugby tournaments for girls, the narrative that rugby has to be overly aggressive hinders female participation in the sport and, "convincing their parents that the game isn’t 'too rough' for them to play" is a conversation Fleming has often.

Fleming introduced rugby at the South East Port of Spain Secondary School in 2018 and coaches both a girls’ team and a boys’ team. She also teaches Spanish there.

 

 

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