High school rugby is alive and well on Long Island. The LIU19 Colts rugby club is a community-based club open to all students from ninth to 12th grade. Middle school students are welcome to come and learn the skills of the game but we cannot promise playing time as we do not schedule teams in their age bracket at the present time. High school rugby in the U.S. is strictly a spring sport. The Colts winter practice starts after Thanksgiving when the football season ends and consists of one two-hour session on Saturday or Sunday mornings at 11 a.m. depending on weather conditions. Once the season gets under way in March we go to a Tuesday and Thursday 5 p.m. practice at Glen Cove. The Colts play a 10-game schedule and field an A and B side each week. Everyone gets a full game every game day during the season. The Colts draw players from schools in Nassau County, Eastern Queens and Western Suffolk.
Almost a year ago, Marcelo Lucero, an Ecuadorean immigrant, was murdered allegedly by a group of high school boys on a hate-crime spree. Shortly after the murder I was invited to participate as one of six panelists in an online forum sponsored by Newsday.
The panel addressed a number of themes - exposure to prejudice, bigotry and discrimination, the role of the schools and bridging communication gaps. The final theme of the forum was “confronting authority.” This was presented by the editors as follows: “…there are growing suspicions that government institutions have played a major role in perpetuating racial tensions. New allegations that have surfaced since Lucero’s death suggest that inadequate attention has been given to patterns of hate-driven violence. Add to that the intensifying trend in law enforcement toward criminalizing and cracking down on illegal immigration. How do community members deal with racism and hate crime when law enforcement and other authorities are seen as complicit in the oppression and violence?”
I was reading recently how Academy Award-winning actor Richard Dreyfuss is now devoting himself to promoting the education of “civics” in our schools in order to give our children real-world knowledge and, hopefully, wisdom about how to run our government. I never realized that Mr. Dreyfuss and I had so much in common and I enthusiastically join his call to bring back civic education.
(On the morning of September 1, the entire faculty and staff of the school district gathered for the traditional back-to-school convocation at Roslyn High School. The following is from my address to them.)
Recently some of you may have seen an article that was circulating on an education list serve that was entitled, “Sum up Your Leadership in Six Words.” The article began with an anecdote that said that Ernest Hemingway was once challenged to write a story using only six words. Many thought it wasn’t possible. Hemingway instead produced the following:
I’m like many people in our county who pours over nutrition labels on all the food I buy. I want to know exactly what it is I’m eating, and more importantly, how many calories I’m consuming. As the American Heart Association will tell you, calories “in” should equal calories “out” if you want to maintain your current weight. Our diet should be equivalent to our physical activity. But if we don’t know what we’re eating, how are we to know how many laps to walk around the neighborhood?
Like most municipalities across the country, we have had to tighten our belts in the face of the lingering economic decline. Nonetheless, we remain committed to providing fun activities, events and amusement such as our fireworks extravaganza and summer-long presentation of free concerts.
On Wednesday, Sept. 9, I will be joined by the Nassau County 9/11 Memorial Committee, along with victims’ families and friends, at a sunset ceremony to commemorate the eighth anniversary of the events of September 11, 2001. The ceremony will take place at the September 11th Memorial in Eisenhower Park.
The American Heart Association’s mission is to build healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke. One of the leading preventable causes of these diseases – the growing waistline of America! Being labeled as overweight or obese has disastrous effects on your cardiovascular health.
In the immediate aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack on America, several artists joined together to produce a soft cover book entitled 9/11: Artists Respond. The book of graphic art showcases the artists’ responses to the terror that befell the world. One nine-frame piece by Jeph Loeb and Scott Campbell entitled “Please Stand By…” features a girl of about eight years of age watching cartoons on television. By the third and fourth frames, the image on the screen changes to a live feed of the Twin Towers ablaze. As the little girl stands transfixed, stuffed animal in hand and her face less than 12 inches from the screen, the commentator announces, “We interrupt this program to take you live…” the little girl turns away and calls, “Mommy…” The next three frames show her mother dropping a basket of laundry. Then, with her face contorted in anguish, the mother embraces her daughter to shield her from the unrelenting images. The final frame is a close-up of the little girl asking, “Mommy, when are the cartoons gonna come back on?”
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