According to David Benard Mulligan: “One day while playing in my usual foursome, I hit a ball off the first tee that was long enough, but not straight. I was so provoked with myself that on impulse, I stooped over and put another ball down. The other three looked at me with considerable puzzlement and one of them asked, “What are you doing?”
“I’m taking a correction shot”, I replied. “What do you call that?” the partner inquired. Thinking fast, I told him that I called it a ‘mulligan’ . . . After that it became kind of an unwritten rule in our foursome that you could take an extra free shot on the first tee, if you weren’t satisfied with the original. Naturally, this always was referred to as ‘taking a mulligan’. 1
According to the boy, Hardy Greaves: “It’s the only game I know that you can call a penalty on yourself, if you’re honest, which most people are. There just ain’t no other game like it!” 2
Founded in the early 90’s by Carter Haake and joined shortly thereafter by Joanne McDermott (both Syracuse residents), the Syracuse Youth Court offers a “corrective shot”, a mulligan, if you please. Linked to an understanding group of youth caddies providing peer review, they offer swing guidance in the form of restorative rather than retributive justice. The Syracuse Youth Court grants offending youth an opportunity to face the victims of their actions and develop a plan of restitution guided by peers. In contrast, Juvenile Court levies retributive justice, and tags the youth with a record.
Today the Syracuse Youth Court is headed by Lori Smith. On October 1, 2020, she gathered those of the past and present associated with the Youth Court to honor Officer Lance Call of the Syracuse City Police Department. Officer Call’s involvement can be traced back to those early days. Lance is leaving the Youth Court after decades of service to return to patrol duties as he prepares for retirement. Thank you, Carter, Joanne and Lance, for your dedicated service to Syracuse Youth.
And Lori, although experiencing a COVID-19 delay, you and the Youth Court have the honor. Swing away!
According to Bagger Vance: “[Life] is a game that can’t be won… only played!” 3
If you have interest in learning more about the Syracuse City Youth Court please go to: www.syracuseut.gov/413/Youth-Court
Mayor Mike Gailey
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2 From the movie: The Legend of Bagger Vance: Story by Stephen Pressfield