Last Days of the Scrum

New York Times, Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Last Days of the Scrum, by William Alden

As Silence Falls Over Chicago’s Once-Raucous Futures Trading Pits a Way of Life Also Fades

“Chicago– The pits where generations of sweating traders in colorful jackets once bellowed out orders for wheat, corn, and cattle contracts, using hand signals and sheer force of personality, are almost empty.  The smattering of traders who hung around them on a recent day appeared listless, some glancing at table screens, others staring blankly into space.

Open-outcry futures trading, a profession that took root here in the mid-19th century, becoming part of the city’s identity and influencing trading systems around the world, is going extinct.  Most of the futures pits inside the Chicago Board of Trade Building, an Art Deco tower that loooms ofer downtown’s La Salle street, are scheduled to close by July after being choked by a decade of technological advancement that has made face-to-face trading largely obsolete.”

From Wikipedia:  A scrum (short for scrummage) is a method of restarting play in rugby that involves players packing closely together with their heads down and attempting to gain possession of the ball.  Starting play from the line of scrimmage in gridiron football is derived from the scrum.

Hustling whether in the futures pits or in rugby: in the futures pits it was for trades; in rugby it’s for the ball.



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