Rugby has been a staple of European sport for over 200 years. Its high action tackling and fast-paced game play captivate audiences worldwide. Despite this, America has been behind on the sport, having few events besides collegiate ones. Since the founding of USA Rugby, the national rugby team, in 1971, that has changed. 
 Rugby is a fairly new sport to our country, but it is growing quickly and consistently. After years of development in the first half of the 20th century, stunted by American football’s popularity, rugby began to grow rapidly in the second half of the century. When USA Rugby was founded, it changed how rugby was perceived in the U.S., now a national competitor. Many organizations and teams are recruiting players across the nation at the youth and collegiate level. 
“There are currently 47 state youth organizations that introduce the sport to players as young as five years old. These youth programs continue through high school,” said Rich Cortez, Collegiate Director at USA Rugby.
 After the U.S. became an international participant in the sport, the sport began to expand, with youth leagues being founded nationwide.
 Today, it has greatly expanded as a sport, extending to everything from youth leagues to a major league. Mainly thanks to major rugby organizations, it is televised, broadcasted, advertised and played nationwide. College rugby is also televised, with various levels of elite divisions. Now, with new teams being added, such as the major league team from New York (New York United RFC), rugby is now more popular than ever, and this growth shows no signs of stopping. 
“I continue rugby because I like the teamwork needed and the overall culture of the sport. Not to mention the rush you get when you play,” said Griffin Drinkwater, a 14-year-old local club player. 
Going off what we have today, there is just so much more potential for rugby to grow and for so many more people to play this great sport. 


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Nation
Coal vs. Cascadia: Trump Chokes Out National Park Service’s Budget
From towering cliffs to dramatic valleys, the Pacific Northwest is breathtaking. But, this land is in danger. The Trump administration’s budget cuts for planned fiscal year 19 are going to do more harm than good to these lands, despite the intentions they broadcast to hide the expenses and problems. 
 On the surface, it is a simple plan by the Trump Administration to address the backlog in the National Parks Service (NPS)’s maintenance budget. However, the real plan is to cut the budgets of NPS employees and resources, spend more money on repairing faltering infrastructure and start “responsibly” developing on public lands for energy like coal, gas and oil.
 This “responsible energy development” can damage and remove certain benefits of parks. Energy development is disruptive to lands and weakens our Earth’s natural defenses against climate change.
“Using nature-based solutions such as land conservation is also our number one line of defense against climate change,”  said Stefanie Covino, a coordinator at Mass Audubon. “Open space provides both mitigation benefits (acting as a carbon sink) as well as adaptation (soaking up extra water, recharging groundwater supplies and reducing heat island effect).”
 The plan also removes NPS’s land acquisition budget, saying “it’s to keep the focus on land development.” Experts have been critiquing this plan, saying it opens various doors for privatization and selling of private land.
 “Oil, gas and coal exploration and extraction destroy habitats and pollute the land and water either through leakage or wastes. That will damage our heritage to benefit major corporations,” said Katherine Fogarty, an AP Environmental Science teacher at Boston Latin Academy. 

“This budget enables the Department to meet its core mission and prioritizes programs that will put Americans’ security first,” said Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke during an address at Interior headquarters. 
In a broad sense, this can mean fracking on public land. Considering this is used to keep lands maintained, this seems like a contradictory idea. 
NPS’s website directly states that Trump’s proposed budget will be used for “securing the highest priority resources and most critical assets, readily responding to requests for emergency assistance, performing search and rescue operations.” It hardly mentions the large cuts in budget and staff which are used already for repairs and response.
This plan fails to support and provide resources for the national parks; it wastes plenty of resources in the process of gaining more to use. It cripples the National Parks Service in staff and services, cuts vital resources and conservation staff, and develops energy and oil on public land. 
“Getting rid of them would destroy this landscape, the history, and be bad for the environment. Not only getting rid of all the trees but all the animals who live in those areas,” said 15-year-old Nikki Okoli from Jamaica Plain. 
The parks are vital for the health of humans and animals, and to preserve our nation’s natural beauty and history.



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Tech
Sony Puts a Damper on “Fortnite” with Unjust Crossplay Policy
Imagine waiting in a Gamestop line and purchasing a Nintendo Switch so you can play “Fortnite” with your friends who use different consoles than you. Once you finally purchase it and get home, you set up the Switch and download “Fortnite” from the Nintendo store, but while attempting to log into your Epic account, an error appears, stating, “This ‘Fortnite’ account is associated with a platform which does not allow it to operate on the Switch.” 
“Fortnite” is a multiplayer shooter global phenomenon from Epic Games that is available on PC, console and mobile. All statistics relating to your wins and kills, along with “Fortnite” skins and v-bucks (the currency used to make purchases within the game), are stored on your Epic Games account. However, to play “Fortnite” on a Nintendo Switch or Xbox One, you need to make a new account if your account is linked to Playstation 4 (PS4). In other words, if you want to play with friends on other platforms, you better kiss all of your $20 skins goodbye!
Crossplay is the idea within the gaming industry that all gaming consoles and devices—whether it be on PC, Xbox, Playstation, Nintendo Switch or mobile—should be able to play the same games together, regardless of the platform they are on. Crossplay is accepted, and even encouraged, by most major gaming companies. However, it is being stopped by Sony, the distributor of PS4, who wants to keep PS4 from crossplaying with Xbox and Nintendo consoles because they are their competitors.
Thanks to Sony’s harsh stance on crossplay, Playstation owners can only play “Fortnite” with players on PC and mobile, whereas players on the Xbox and the Switch can play with all platforms besides PS4. Sony does not allow players to use items they bought on PS4 to be used on other accounts.
If your account is or has been linked to a Sony PS4 account, that account cannot be accessed on Xbox or the Nintendo Switch. This is a move by Sony to keep PS4 players buying vbucks on PS4 and using them for in-game purchases on PS4 and not on other platforms. 
While Sony may lose some revenue from crossplay, crossplay would allow gamers to play with friends regardless of the console they are on, and it would save consumers money who would otherwise purchase another console. 
If your account is under Epic Games and not Sony, Sony should not be allowed to block its users from playing on other devices. They are basically infecting your account so they can keep you on their platform and continue to profit off your purchases. PS4 was the best selling console in the market and wants to keep it that way. Sony is the thorn in the side of “Fortnite” crossplay—all other major companies involved (Epic Games, Nintendo and Microsoft) want crossplay, and see it as a way to advance, progress and expand within the gaming industry.


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Imagine being one of the best and biggest basketball players of the NBA, but you keep receiving bad comments from fans about how much money you spend. How would you feel? 
Nowadays, NBA players are making huge amounts of money because they are extremely talented. Being a professional basketball player is not something that it easy to achieve; it demands skills, courage and most importantly, mutual respect between one and others. 
People criticize NBA players by saying they get paid a lot of money by just bouncing the ball, and that they don’t do anything to assist their communities, but this is untrue. People should know that even though their salaries are higher than the president of the United States’, NBA players are still giving back to their communities.
Lakers forward LeBron James created a unique school that exceeded expectations. According to SB Nation, James’ I Promise school “began as an Akron-based non-profit aimed at boosting achievement for younger students from disadvantaged backgrounds. Now the movement has the means to educate these students year-round.” This demonstrates that James actually cares about where he grew up. He knows what it is like to feel like you do not have a way out, and only having limited opportunities.
James is a great source of inspiration and motivation for the youth. “LeBron is making sure that when our kids grow up, they have something to do,” said Mohammed Al Birdari, a student at BINcA. “Some might say that he’s done nothing for anybody, but that’s where they’re wrong. He donates to charity to help young poor kids, and if you tell me that’s not enough, I don’t know what is. He’s making history,” said Birdari. 
  James is not the only NBA player who cares about the fans and their community. Minnesota Timberwolves point guard Derrick Rose, who in 2011 became the youngest player in the NBA to win most valuable player, launched a college scholarship fund. According to NBA.com, Rose’s program “will award more than $400,000 in tuition money.” Rose reportedly said, “I hope to provide student a path to college that was not previously available to them.” Even the best point guard in the NBA is giving money and dedicating his time to his community.
Sherlandy Pardieu, an 18-year-old student and athlete at BINcA, thinks basketball players should give back to the community. “People and athletes should always provide a little back to their community because usually the communities are the fans that got the athletes to where they are at today.”
People will always criticize basketball players even though they do their best to support and satisfy communities. It seems like people will never be satisfied, whether or not they give back. However, despite the facts that NBA players are receiving criticism every day, they will always give back to their communities because they know how important the fans are throughout their careers. 


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Ever wondered why there are so many green spaces in Boston, but you never visit them? It might be because you do not know the benefits they may provide. I am sure you are asking yourself, “how do small, insignificant parks help the city and its people?” Green spaces are important—especially for people living in areas where there is a lack of green space—because they benefit our wellbeing. 
Urban green spaces are pieces of land that are undeveloped and have no buildings or other structures. They can be parks, community gardens or public seating areas—places that help people feel more relaxed. They prevent teens from being aggressive, they relieve stress, they help the economy and, most importantly, they reduce crime. 
According to an organization named Pacific Standard, “Researchers from the University of Southern California report urban adolescents who grow up in neighborhoods with more greenery are less likely to engage in aggressive behavior.” This shows that teenagers seem to be less aggressive when they are surrounded by green spaces because they feel calm and that prevents them from getting into fights with their peers. 
Toni Jackson, a coordinator of extended learning time at BINcA, wishes, “kids felt more comfortable sitting outside by themselves with their thoughts. I just sit outside in a park and think. Kids don’t do that so much anymore.”  
When teens go to parks, it become easy for them to interact with nature and meet others teens. “An urban green space setting is also a great way for teenagers driven by 21st century technological advancements to build relationships that last a lifetime and meet new people,” said Mohamed Somane, a student at BINcA. 
 As specified by a study on online legal information service FindLaw, “Well-maintained green spaces may provide a place for people to interact and hang out. As a result, this may lead to more people and families just milling around. The presence of more people may make it harder for criminals to commit crimes without being spotted and apprehended.” This shows that green spaces help fight against crimes because with a bunch of people in parks, it is less likely for criminals to commit a crime in public. 
Surprisingly, green spaces also help boost the local economy. According to an article published in architecture magazine “Arch2o,” “Urban green spaces can be one of the factors that attract significant foreign investments that assists in rapid economic growth.” Even though they are public and free, when cities make sure that their parks are safe and clean, they attract business people and tourists to come more often.
I have felt connected to parks from a very young age. When I lived in France, I would get out of my house at dawn to play soccer and basketball, and spend time in parks until sunset. Therefore, I encourage all teenagers to dedicate at least 15 minutes of their day surrounded by green spaces.



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