How a new life opportunity offered a Nashville athlete to create a rugby network

The Little Leagues rugby
Posted at 5:51 PM, Feb 22, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-22 22:42:41-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Parents love a program that gets their kids up and active and handling all that energy. A program definitely does that, but it's so much more. For the man who launched it, it's a matter of opportunity and perhaps even bringing something new to the future of sports in Nashville.

"Can I get a big smile?" Monte Gaddis asked a group of kids gathered at JE Moss Elementary. "Are we ready? Go!"

The kids went racing across the gym floor.

Life's got a whole lot of unexpected in it. Monte didn't expect he'd one day be teaching the basics of rugby to kids. His life offered up opportunities that got him to this point, doing something he loves.

"I like to start with the ladder drills to start with the fundamentals of footwork," he said.

As a kid, Monte's plan was to play for the NFL, and at one time, he was a prospect.

"Long story short, plans didn't work out," he said. "NFL never happened, but that didn't stop me."

Other opportunities came up. Those led him to play rugby for teams internationally. He ended up writing a children's book about rugby, and he launched his foundation The Little Leagues. This after-school program teaching various sports skills was launched in 15 schools in Cleveland, Ohio and now Monte's doing the same here.

"I have four schools just teaching rugby ready to grow," he said.

He teaches kids simple exercises that put altogether make up rugby. It's delivering skills and encouragement.

"We use rugby to let kids know how to be disciplined, to have goals, to show teamwork," Monte said. "They're teaching their parents too. When was the last time a kid got to come home and teach their parents about a sport they don't know?"

There's another layer to this. Monte's hope is to drive up local interest in rugby in kids with the future in mind.

"I want to grow an actual league here in Nashville," he said. "Maybe in the next five to ten years, these kids in these elementary schools may play in the rugby league."

What's key for Monte is that in a life that's full of the unexpected, the opportunity is given.

"I never expected to go overseas," Monte said. "I never would have expected to play rugby and let alone be able to teach kids. This has just been awesome."

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