Author Archives: John Carey

CAREY

Column: Cold “St. Agnes’ Eve,—Ah, bitter chill it was!

“The owl, for all his feathers, was a-cold, “The hare limp’d trembling through the frozen grass, “And silent was the flock in woolly fold.”

The poet, John Keats (1795-1821), uses vivid images of a shivering owl, a limping hare and silent sheep to put us right there and make us almost feel the cold ourselves.

Far more vivid images to convey the dread of cold were used by Jack London in his 1908 short story “To Build a Fire.” There are only two characters, a daring man trying to reach a remote destination on foot in minus 50-plus degree weather without another person, only a wolf-dog, for company. The sun is visible for only a few minutes at noon.

The man hoped to make by 6 p.m., a camp miles away, where there would be shelter, warmth and hot food awaiting him. The wolf-dog knew instinctively, from its ancestors, that traveling in such conditions was unwise. It was accustomed to fire, and yearned for the man to build one

As the man’s limbs began to go numb, he did light a small blaze in hopes of preventing or limiting frostbite. Bui he made the mistake of starting his fire under an evergreen tree, from whose branches a cascade of loosened snow poured down on his feeble flames. Then he made a worse mistake, stepping into a hole with water hidden under a layer of snow.

The man thought that, if he could start another fire, he could take off his wet boot and sock and dry them without freezing solid his already-numb foot. As the dog watched, still hoping for a fire, the man tried to light a match. But his stiffened fingers were not able to grasp his matches. Soon he felt the warm and comfortable sensation that we are told precedes death by freezing.

The dog can tell that this man will not give him fire, so leaves him to go to where he believes there are other men who might have a fire or make one.

* * * * *

In Alaska, we were told that at minus 40 degrees children can’t wait to get to school on winter mornings because there they will be warm whereas not all families are able to heat their homes to a comfortable level in such frigid conditions.

CONTACT: j_pcarey@verizon.net

 
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Column: Who controls city speech

Cities can speak with various voices. They can speak formally, through ordinances or resolutions. They can speak through actions, such as choosing to enforce or not enforce rules. They can speak by following one or another policy.

Not very often does city speech figure explicitly in judicial decisions. But it happened last month in a case involving our neighboring City of New Rochelle. The case was written up in the Dec. 29 issue of the New York Law Journal

There is, according to the article, an organization called the United Veterans Memorial and Patriotic Association of the City of New Rochelle. It has certain responsibilities for veterans’ affairs in the city. It has been allowed to display flags at the New Rochelle Armory, a city property.

The association chose to display the historic “Gadsden Flag,” showing a rattlesnake and the words “Don’t Tread On Me.” Some felt this stood for the views of a certain faction in current American politics. The flag was taken down, apparently by a majority vote of the City Council, and litigation followed, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

The federal judge assigned to the case said that New Rochelle “has a valid interest in expressing the messages that it chooses through its flagpole, and may decide to avoid speech that it believes will be perceived by some of its constituents as divisive. Indeed, because it is the city, not the United Veterans, that is perceived as the speaker, the city is the entity accountable for whatever message observers perceive in the Armory’s flags.”

Federal District Judge Cathy Seibel was reported to have also said that, “the government is entitled to say what it wishes and to select the views that it wishes to express.”

Apparently, the undercurrent here was that the Gadsden Flag is seen by some as linked with the Tea Party. So this precedent would seem to indicate that a city can officially decline to express controversial views on national issues.

CONTACT: j_pcarey@verizon.net

 
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Column: Courts watching cops watching mosques

The United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit sits in a courthouse in Philadelphia, Penn., where I used to spend time as a young Philadelphia lawyer. The term “Philadelphia lawyer” used to be considered a bit shady. Actually, I believe it started as a compliment, being based on the successful defense of New York publisher John Peter Zenger by the elderly Philadelphia lawyer Andrew Hamilton against a charge of criminal libel brought by the British governor.

On Jan.14 thisyear, the New Jersey Law Journal published an article with the title “Third Circuit Considers NYPD Muslim Surveillance Suit.” A U.S. District Court judge in New Jersey had ruled in February that parties who sued the New York Police Department for monitoring mosques, restaurants, stores, grade schools and student groups since Sept. 11, 2001, could not proceed for lack of “standing.” To show standing, a plaintiff must demonstrate a special interest in the outcome beyond that of the public generally.

The Muslim plaintiffs said that attendance at religious observances had declined and Muslim-owned businesses had lost revenue because of the surveillance. Owners of an auto repair shop and a meat market in Newark, N.J., claimed that customers had been scared away by the surveillance. One plaintiff, a U.S. Army reservist with service in Iraq, said he attends mosques less frequently for fear of jeopardizing his security clearance.

The third circuit in due course will decide whether to uphold the dismissal of the suit for lack of standing or to reverse the dismissal and let the case proceed to the discovery stage, in which opposing witnesses can be questioned at length under oath and sworn answers required to written questions. Among other things, it will be interesting to learn on what basis the NYPD has authority to do police work in New Jersey, subjecting itself to the jurisdiction of federal courts in that state.

According to the article in the New Jersey Law Journal, the oral argument in the third circuit largely turned on whether or not the surveillance was the result of a NYPD policy. This puzzles me; if police surveillance happened, it can be scrutinized for legality, just like use of a choke hold. If it did not happen, that is the end of the case.

CONTACT: j_pcarey@verizon.net

 
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Column: Middle East parties, tread warily

The standing of the Palestinian Authority, PA, is bound to have been enhanced by the appearance on television of its President Mahmoud Abbas front and center in Paris among heads of state and government including the prime minister of Israel. I do not criticize our president for his absence, since I have no knowledge of the security aspects involved.

Those present may have harbored differing views of freedom of speech. Here in the United States we know there are limits, epitomized by the well-known notion that you may not shout “fire” in a crowded theater. In recent times at the United Nations, some countries have argued for a rule against “defamation of religions.” This has been resisted by others as an attack on freedom of speech.

As the PA applies to join the International Criminal Court, ICC, the implications for both it and Israel are considerable. The PA may be alienating more countries than it persuades by seeking punitive sanctions, and at the same time the PA may be jeopardizing itself in other ways.

As long as the PA is not a member of the ICC, its nationals are not subject to ICC prosecution, nor are offenses committed on PA territory subject thereto. But the Rome Statute, which created the ICC, provides in Article 12 that “1. A State which becomes a Party to this Statute thereby accepts the jurisdiction of the Court with respect to the crimes referred to in article 5.” Those are war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide, plus aggression whenever it is officially defined.

Israel may be inviting problems if it is withholding funds to which the PA is entitled by agreement. It is conceivable that the PA might seek to bring an action for damages against Israel in the International Court of Justice, ICJ.

Article 34 of the ICJ Statute provides that: “1. Only states may be parties before the Court.” Whether or not Israel raised the issue of the PA’s statehood in the ICJ, the Court would have to rule on it before deciding the merits. Article 36(6) specifies that, “In the event of a dispute as to whether the Court has jurisdiction, the matter shall be settled by the decision of the Court.”

The possibility of an ICJ ruling that the PA is a state must give Israel considerable pause. Article 35(3) of the ICJ Statute explicitly refers to situations [w]hen a state which is not a Member of the United Nations is a party to a case, . .”

A basic rule of traditional international law is: “Pacta sunt servanda.” In other words, international agreements must be carried out, just like private contracts. So Israel might hesitate before withholding promised funds, just as the U.S. might do if its payments to the PA have been made pursuant to any agreement. Neither Israel nor the U.S. government are likely to want the ICJ to rule on Palestinian statehood.

CONTACT: j_pcarey@verizon.net

 
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Column: A year in review

Before getting into strictly Rye events over the past year, I want to emphasize three foreign affairs developments of great significance. The first is the rapid emergence of the Islamic State. The second is the decline of the Russian economy and of Putin’s prestige with the drop in oil prices. The third is the rapprochement between the United States and Cuba. But those subjects are not within my mandate in a year-end wrap-up.

Instead, I focus on events that have demanded my attention in writing a 2014 weekly column. I will mention a few, in the order of their appearance in “A Rye Oldtimer.”

To start the year off, I wrote on Jan. 3 in support of having a Rye ombudsperson as in various governmental and business institutions. This would be an individual charged with examining in detail ideas advocated by citizens and reporting to the council, which could then move directly to a decision-making stage.

On Jan. 10, I described the opportunities provided by Rye public access television. And on Jan. 17, I sounded the alarm about $40,000 promised by the City Council to a firm that admittedly does no actual recruiting for services in hiring a new police commissioner. Such services were not needed, since the selection was made from inside the police department, but still some of the $40,000 was said to have been paid out, and I would like to know who got it and why.

I digressed on Jan. 24, to recommend a book, “Those Angry Days,” by Lynne Olson, who takes us through the approach of the Second World War.

On Feb. 7, I was back to questioning the effectiveness of environmental protection in Rye.

On Feb.14, my column was headed, “Rest in Peace, Phil McGovern.” He served as both city assessor and city manager. I again questioned Rye’s agreement to pay the $40,000, when we paid nothing to identify Phil, one of our most effective managers.

On Feb. 21, my column was headed, “City Council’s responsibility to protect.” Protection is needed not only by residents in time of emergency but also by all of us all the time, to safeguard City property, in the “comforting warmth of compliance with the rule of law.”

On March 14, I again questioned the effectiveness of Rye’s environmental protection.

Occasionally, I would branch out into broader questions, as on March 21, when I posed the question “Is Crimea a new Sudetenland?” If you were not alive in the 1930s, like plenty of folks in Rye who were, then that question might not have resonated with you. The same might be said of my March 28 column, which also posed the question, “Does Putin’s Russia threaten us?”

On April 4, I reminisced a bit about the 1940s, concluding with a tribute to George Herbert Walker Bush, who is one day younger than me and still jumps out of airplanes, as we saw on his most recent birthday.

On April 11, I went local, asking, “Which is worse, Bay Bridge [across the Sound] or [Playland] field house?”

In the April 25 issue, I took issue with an article in the American Legion Magazine and on May 2 sounded the alarm about “Port Chester’s massive project next door.” On May 16th, my title was, “Prayers at City Council meetings,” the issue having been raised in the U.S. Supreme Court.

On May 30th, I asked, “Are we ready for September storms?” Happily, that question did not need to be answered, since we were spared such storms this year. But the City Council must make ready for next September, and for any blizzard that might blow our way this winter.

CAREY

Column: Mario Cuomo, RIP

When I first became interested in serving as a judge, Gov. Cuomo appointed me to the New York State Supreme Court. It is a court that functions separately in the different counties. I presided at trials in three of them, New York, Orange and Westchester counties. All my cases were civil at that time, none criminal, although the Supreme Court can handle either.

People appointed to the New York Supreme Court, as I was, must try to win a full term at the next election. I ran in the Ninth Judicial District, which consists of Orange, Dutchess, Rockland and Putnam counties, besides Westchester. I was not elected, so I went back to private law practice the January following my defeat.

A couple of months later, Gov. Cuomo offered me another judicial opportunity, a seat on the statewide County Court, which also functions in each county. I accepted with great delight, having been bitten by the judging bug. The County Court provided me with two fascinating categories of cases, serious criminal trials and Article 78 appeals from local government actions.

During 1994, the year during which I was to turn 70 and be obliged to retire, a former partner offered to represent me in a lawsuit to contest my mandatory retirement. Since I was doing the same work, for the same pay as Supreme Court judges, who were entitled to stay on to age 76 if in good health and doing the job, we argued that I was being deprived of equal protection of the law in violation of the Constitution.

My lawsuit ended up in Albany, before the highest New York State court, the Court of Appeals. Two days before my term of office was to end, on Dec. 31, the Court of Appeals ruled simply that my appeal was dismissed because no significant constitutional issue was necessarily raised. This was a blow, since our entire case was based on the Constitution.

I saw Gov. Cuomo by chance a few years later at a social occasion and reminded him of the lawsuit we shared. He smiled and, with a twinkle in his eye, commented that in any competition he prefers to win. With that we shook hands and parted. I’m glad our paths crossed, even so briefly and inconsequentially.

CONTACT: j_pcarey@verizon.net

 
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Column: Mid-December Musings

Holiday lights

When I was a small boy, my parents would put live candles in glass jars alongside several windows facing the street. We would carefully extinguish them before going to bed or if we were leaving the house. A few of the neighbors did the same, but most houses were dark. It was Depression time.

On Christmas morning, we would walk down the street to where mother’s brother and his family lived. We would place our gifts for each other in a laundry basket covered with a blanket. Then, in turn, youngest first, we would reach under the cover and pull out the first gift we felt. Everyone would watch as it was unwrapped. Never would more than one gift be opened at a time.

My parents had friends who had escaped from Russia as the Bolshevists took over. They had brought with them the custom of live candles burning on live trees, inside their home. Someone had to be on guard all the time, in case the dry pine needles
caught fire.

 

Santa Claus

I don’t remember ever believing that a rotund man carrying a pack could get down our narrow chimney, leave us children gifts, and then get back up again, to fly away in a sleigh. And we never told our children that such a thing happened. We would try always to start each reference to Santa with the phrase, “We pretend that…” Hanging stockings by the fire place in hopes of later seeing them filled was never confused with the Santa story.

 

Packages getting heavier, coming in
and going out

As the ads in the mail and newspapers get more and more voluminous, the burdens of those who bring us these treasures and carry them away when we are done with them grow ever weightier as December moves on. So let us not forget our letter carriers and Department of Public Works helpers who do such important work for us.

 

Emergency preparedness for Rye

Since the City Council has eliminated from next year’s budget the money to hire an assistant city manager for emergency preparedness, the question remains how we are to prepare and defend ourselves from the next big storm or other crisis. I urge the council to send a committee to New Canaan, Conn., and see how they do so well with a volunteer in charge. An incorporated vehicle to implement such a program already exists here, called the Rye Community Emergency Response Team, Inc. It need only be implemented with fresh leadership.

 

Torture and the
Golden Rule 

I was taught, as long ago as I can remember, to do unto others as you would have them do unto you, or not to do to others what you would not want done to you. What this now has to mean is, don’t torture unless you are prepared to be tortured yourself.

I have read that we have a course for teaching service personnel how to survive brutal treatment. Probably, the curriculum includes the personal experience of being water-boarded. Of course, it’s not the same when you can call a halt any time when pain and fear become more than you can stand.

It would be informative, to say the least, if the Senate report on CIA “coercive interrogation” disclosed whether any agency personnel, or executive branch officials,  had volunteered to be water-boarded, just to find out, in advance, what kind of horror they were meting out to defenseless victims.

Somehow, I cannot put out of my mind the word “cowardice” when I think of anyone, American or not, inflicting suffering on a defenseless fellow human being. We don’t allow that to be done to animals.

When we see images of masked men standing over prisoners who are bound and blindfolded, and are told that seconds later the masked one, who dares not show his face, has cut off the head of the victim, we may tend to ask ourselves, where are the moral or religious scruples of such a person?

But we must also ask about the moral or religious scruples of those who either authorize torture, at whatever distance from the victim, or themselves commit acts of torture with their own hands.

CONTACT: j_pcarey@verizon.net

 
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Column: Remarks for the 50th anniversary of City Hall

Fifty years ago, I was a fairly new member of the City Council, although I had served while the council still met in the Square House. Our first city manager, Jack Paulus, had his office in the tiny room behind the Square House meeting room.

Before I got on the council, the members would disappear up the Square House stairs for private discussions of city business, but that stopped after some of us had beaten the drums loudly enough and long enough for “Open Government.”

We acquired the new City Hall thanks to the generosity of one man, former Mayor John Motley Morehead, one of the founders of Union Carbide. He knew what he liked in architecture and specified symmetrical brick colonial design. The then council’s plan to replace 51 Milton with a one-story city headquarters was buried and forgotten.

Among the many new houses being built in Rye now, I believe Mayor Ted Dunn’s masterpiece of symmetrical brick architecture on Pine island Road would have pleased Mayor Morehead greatly. And I think he would have shared the regret of many of us at seeing the handsome brick house on the corner of Stuyvesant and Halls Lane demolished except for one façade.

Mayor Morehead also liked clocks, and donated our remarkable tower timepiece whose long pendulum can be seen from the first floor, moving majestically back and forth. When the building was opened to the public, you could see at a glance that no expense had been spared; every item of hardware, for instance, was the finest available.

When it came time for the new City Hall to be dedicated, in December 1964, Mayor Morehead was home with a cold and could not attend in person. But a phone hook-up was arranged so that he, and Rev. Joe Bishop who was with him, could be heard in the meeting room, and the proceedings there were audible to Mayor Morehead. Pat and I were in the third row, near the door to the “Mayor’s Conference Room,” as it is called, over my strong objections since it does not belong just to the mayor.

The meeting room was packed, as it is now, and with very good reason. After all, what other community anywhere in the area could boast so splendid a headquarters? It was fitting that the presider was then Mayor H. Clay Johnson, an outstanding public servant. He headed the American branch of a British insurance giant.

The sheer majesty of the surroundings was awesome, and still is.

Years later, when I was presiding at City Hall, there was a certain meeting at which feelings were running unusually high. There was grumbling and muttering, with a sharp edge to it. Anger was palpable. As mayor, I had to do something to restore calm.

So I asked for a minute of silence, which was respected. Then I asked everyone to look up at the large chandelier that hangs over the chamber, and to consider what a gorgeous work of art it is. And I publicly asked myself whether my own behavior in this chamber matched its elegance. I confessed that I was way behind the chandelier in terms of appropriateness. With that we took a recess, and when we resumed, a calmer atmosphere prevailed.

The essential dignity of the City Council Chamber in City Hall is bound to make anyone, no matter how excited over some issue, pause and reflect on the appropriateness of his or her behavior in such august surroundings. And even if people do not happen to know that the Rye City Council Chamber is patterned after the colonial Virginia House of Burgesses, where Patrick Henry and other founders held forth in the early 1770s, the sheer majesty of our local government center is bound to give pause to anyone, no matter how excited over a particular issue. Let me give an example, known only to a few of us.

There was a time when a group of lady golfers was incensed at being told that they could not reserve early tee-off times on Saturday mornings because that time was reserved for the men, who worked outside their homes weekday mornings. There were plenty of ladies who worked outside their homes weekdays, so you can imagine the resentment at this insult.

I asked the ladies if they would meet with me for a few minutes on the front steps of City Hall. They agreed, so the council meeting took a recess.

The evening was balmy, and the front steps were quite inviting. I made a point of sitting on the bottom step so no one would be looking up at me. I have always believed that the atmosphere in the main chamber is slightly dampened by the elevation of the dais.

The ladies and I quickly agreed that those of them who worked outside the home on weekdays should get early tee-off times on Saturdays. So it was only the authorities from the golf club that had to be persuaded. They were invited to sit with us on the steps, and in a few minutes the problem was solved. I was still on the bottom step, where no one needed to look up at me. The same might have been accomplished indoors, in the solemnity of the council chamber, but it was a lovely, balmy summer evening on the front steps of Mayor Morehead’s majestic City Hall.

CONTACT: j_pcarey@verizon.net

 
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Column: Talking turkey with the City Council

careyDear City Council members and Rye taxpayers:

Here are a few bothersome issues that just won’t go away…

1) Who provided the “private funds” that paid for the slick fundraising ad that came in the mail on Nov. 21, featuring the mayor’s photo under that of Mayor Morehead, who donated the City Hall 50 years ago? Since when are public expenses covered privately? Good idea, or not?

2) What is wrong with the existing chairs in the council meeting room that requires them to be replaced? They are in mint condition despite their 50 years of service. The mayor told me that their replacement has been on a list of capital projects for a long time and that is why they need to be replaced. Does that make sense, in view of their unblemished condition?

3) If chairs must automatically be disposed of after 50 years, what about City Council members who reach the age of 50?

4) What would each new chair cost? Who would get the present chairs and at what price? In what other ways is the council room to be “refurbished”?

5) What happened to the notion that the floor too needed to be replaced? Was that proposal dropped because anyone can see that the floor is in excellent shape, just as the chairs are?

6) What is the “much needed facelift” the mayor says the meeting room needs? Does it mean lifting some of the faces from the dais? I hope it doesn’t mean removing the photos of former mayors.

7) Where are the $40,000 the city agreed to pay to the International City/County Man-agers Association, ICMA, for help in hiring a new police commissioner? Two ICMA representatives told me they do not recruit for their clients or even search for candidates but only advise local officials on how to go about it.

8) The City Council committee in charge of organizing the search for a new city manager should learn from the city’s ICMA experience.

9) Since ICMA’s services were apparently not used in selecting a new police commissioner, where are the $40,000? The mayor told me that part of the $40,000 had been paid out, but he didn’t know to whom. Why isn’t such information available to the mayor, not to mention members of the public?

10) Is there an environmental impact study on construction of a new house at the top of the single lane known as Howard Place? What Rye official is responsible for seeing that such a study is performed?

11) Are you seriously considering installing a kitchen close to the City Manager’s office in City Hall? The notion that it would be used for videotaping cooking shows for Rye TV is unbelievable; whoever wants to tape a cooking show can do it more realistically and comfortably at home, using one or more small video cameras on tripods.

12) Are you serious in even mentioning taping band concerts in City Hall?

13) Why are you planning to hire an assistant city manager to take charge of emergencies when the comparable community of New Canaan, Conn., uses a volunteer? Have you visited New Canaan to see how they are organized for emergencies?

If for any reason we amateur TV producers are no longer able to tape and edit at the present studio in Rye High School, then all we will need is borrowed Rye TV cameras and editing software. Gone is the time when hulking, barely movable TV cameras were necessary to “shoot” a show.

It should be clearly understood that no new City Hall TV studio is needed in order to show City Hall meetings on TV, either live or after editing. There is, however, one serious concern for Rye TV: if hordes of viewers should drop cable in favor of watching TV on the internet, that would reduce cable company revenues and cut into Rye’s franchise fees. That would start a whole new ballgame.

Finally, I would like to pay tribute to an outstanding Rye mayor, the late Fred Hunziker, who was a good friend even though he beat me out for a third term as mayor in 1981. Fred served in the City Council as long as anyone, with the possible exception of Steve Otis. He had to have been both brilliant and diplomatic in order to have ridden astride the tax complexities of the gigantic Con Edison company. His sense of humor was beguiling: he could imitate bird songs in a tense council session without revealing their source.

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Column: Rye teens and rugby

careyI was surprised to hear that there is a Rugby club being considered at Rye High School. My own experience with this sport began when I was 24 and had played enough football so that I could make an informed decision whether to take the risks involved in Rugby. The school authorities are no doubt considering the safety of the young players involved.

Before football, I played soccer, and got so I dreaded having to “head” the ball. That meant jumping in the air so the ball would bounce off your head in your desired direction, instead of off an opponent’s head, towards your goal, if not into your goal.

If I made the rules for teenage soccer, I would forbid “heading” the ball, on pain of expulsion from the game. There is no reason for teenage soccer players to risk concussion and possible brain damage. Banning “heading” would not detract from the game, just reduce one cause of injury.

After soccer, I turned in my teens to football, mostly because my Latin teacher, who was also the football coach, was looking for someone who could devise play-choosing tactics on the field during games. In those days it was a serious offense for a coach to call plays from the sidelines.

I captained my high school football team and received two varsity football letters at Yale College. All that meant at Yale was that the coach had put you into the Harvard game for at least one play. The second letter was in 1946, after my U.S. Navy experience. Bouncing around on rough seas did not improve one’s physical condition for strenuous sports.

From Yale I went to Harvard Law School, with one weekend in between the two schools. Harvard then ran three semesters a year for law students, since each one was shorter than normal. Seven of the shorter semesters, not the usual six, were required for graduation. My seventh was in the spring of 1949. In March, I heard about the Harvard Rugby Club, and went to an organizational meeting.

The coach, Patrick Lister, a graduate student, was a Cambridge Blue, meaning that he had excelled in rugby at Cambridge University in England. One comment of his has stuck in my memory: “You will find, fellows, that Rugger takes a fearful amount of grit.”

We did find that out, soon enough.

Even strapping members of the Harvard football team who were trying rugby for the first time were exhausted from the lack of even brief intervals between plays.

In rugby there are no time-outs. You play the whole game without stopping. Even if a player is hurt, the game goes on. The injured player can try to crawl off the field, or simply lie there until teammates drag him/her off the field. If you saw the movie “Invictus,” about the early post-apartheid days in South Africa, then you have an idea of how rough rugby can be. Bloody noses are routine. Exhaustion is inevitable.

In rugby, you try to tackle the ball carrier, who is supposed to lateral the ball to a teammate before being brought down. The ball carrier can punt any time and can score not only by reaching the other team’s goal line but also by dropkicking through the other side’s goal posts. Neither blocking nor forward passing is allowed.

Action starts with a “scrum,” in which nearly all players on both sides get down in a huddle and try to push their opponents backwards. The object is to kick the ball out of the scrum into the hands of a player who will then lateral to a half back, who in turn runs with the ball towards the opponents’ goal line.

No form of bodily protection is allowed, except a mouth-guard for the teeth. I recall a 200-plus pound Harvard football lineman being so jarred by tackling head-on a150-pound ball carrier that he had to lie down on the ground to recover. It’s a rough game, which men and women over 21 can choose or not, but teens, in my opinion, should not be allowed to choose, endangering themselves just to show their “grit.”

In 1957, I signed up for membership in the Wall Street Rugby Club. With my first game in the offing, it dawned on me that, our third child being about to appear, it would be irresponsible of me to needlessly endanger myself in view of my family responsibilities. If any of our children, male or female, had expressed an interest in becoming a “Rugger,” I would have done my best to point out that “grit” can be demonstrated in less dangerous ways.

CONTACT: j_pcarey@verizon.net