Colin Devennie is having the time of his life. He and nearly 100 of his friends are being introduced to the sport of rugby, thanks to the CNY Youth Rugby.

“So far we’ve learned to pick up the ball with two hands. Not one hand or else the ball is going to get knocked off and try to run your hardest," said Colin, who is in second grade.

Having never played rugby myself, it seems like Colin has the right idea. But being on the field has also given these youth players an opportunity that was missing this past year during the pandemic — a chance to interact with their friends.

“You meet new friends and get to play around and have fun with them," he said.

The program is for kids in kindergarten through eighth grade.

And helping them have fun is Coach David Dedo, who starred at the University at Buffalo before playing professionally in Syracuse. He’s now passing that love to future generations.

“There’s a vast wealth of experience with all the coaches in the organization because it’s an opportunity for those of us to give back to the sport and help grow the sport as we call it," Dedo said.

After watching Dedo in person, you could say he’s a gentle giant. One who takes pleasure in growing a sport that not exactly common.

“For those in my generation, the 30-somethings, we didn't get it until college. So to have it at the high school level, it's starting to develop, but this is really like the essential building block. Everyone plays baseball, soccer at such a young age, it's great to introduce rugby as a viable option," he said.