This tradition goes back to the early 1900s, when only men roamed the college grounds. Back then, freshmen had to wear a beanie year round and during all their daily activities. This symbolized the newcomers’ initiation into the Springfield College family.
If a freshman was feeling brave, he could challenge an upper classmen to a rope pull, thus beginning the rope pull tradition.
Should the underclassman win, he earned the right to remove his itchy wool hat. This was a rare opportunity not to be taken for granted.
Later on, the rope pull became a competition of the classes. Freshmen first challenged sophomores in the 1920s as a part of a series of competitive events.
The underclassmen laced up their Chuck Taylors, rubbed dirt on their hands and battled each other. Next to Lake Massasoit, they dug their feet into the muddy bank, and fought to pull each other in the water.
This year, and recent years, in fact, feature a lot less dirt and fewer grass stains. More recently, the competition has taken place during the homecoming football game on the war ground we call Stagg Field.
On Saturday, Oct. 18, the Pride’s own varsity football team takes on Kings Point at 2 p.m. During half time, each class will challenge each other.
The champion class will get the honor of facing off against the alumni at a chance to win the silver cup. The Student/Alumni Association calls this year’s event a Rope Pull tradition with a 21st century twist.
So come support the football team and join the Pride in an age old tradition, there’s going to be a lot of tension.