The Rye Rotary hosted its Annual Sportsmanship Luncheon on Friday afternoon at Wainwright House. The luncheon is a yearly tradition dating back to the 1930’s, taking place prior to the Rye – Harrison football game.
Administrators, coaches, and the football team captains from both Rye and Harrison High Schools heard from guest speaker Rye resident Raoul Rodriguez. Rodriguez was a heavily recruited high school football player, went on the play offensive guard for Tulane University before he focused on competitive rowing and won a silver medal at the 1988 Olympic Games in the men’s coxless fours. He spoke about the ups and downs of competition and the importance and enjoyment of respecting one’s opponent.
The Rotary luncheon promotes good conduct for all those participating in the game including fairness, respect for one’s opponent, and graciousness in winning or losing. The Rye/Harrison game began in 1929 and soon became a rivalry not only on the field, but in the stands and our neighboring communities.
Instead of sportsmanship, there was animosity, to such a degree that it became necessary to suspend the game during the 1934 – 1936 seasons. In an effort to bring the communities together, The Harrison Civic League decided to sponsor a sportsmanship program. Hosting that program was eventually taken over by Rotary.