The Pull is about tradition, hard work and family. It is an experience that bonds people together unlike any other. For the Odd Year Pull team, this year meant all of these things and more after their victory on Saturday, September 28. Pull rep Rachel Wishop uses the word “unprecedented” to describe the occurrences of Saturday. The new location of The Pull yielded results as such: “Hope Class of 2023 Freshmen win by 10 ft 1 inch. Odd Year had no substitutions and only 12 pullers. Even Year had 7 substitutions and 19 pullers.”
Each member of the Pull team has their own favorite aspects and takeaways from the experience, but overall there is usually one common denominator: the people. For Pit #1 moraler Abbey Bishop, “The best thing about the Pull is the family I now have. Pull is something so special and unique—it’s actually kind of indescribable,” Bishop says. “Our relationships are so unbreakable, and practices and Pull day proved that. Win or lose on the 28th, we had one another, and that’s all that mattered.” The Pull and its threeweek long practice regimen really drives this point home for each team. This attitude is mirrored by moraler Beth Gomez from Pit #9: “I believe that I’ve gained a family. It was a crazy three weeks of training and hard work, but every ounce of effort we put into our team we got in tenfold from each other. Every second, minute and hour was worth the relationships and memories I’ve gained from the Pull.”
Each member of the team is equally important, especially when considering the need for moral support on the rope. When asked what made The Pull worthwhile and helped him survive the process, puller Tommy Halkyard said, “Everyday it was the people. Seriously. I would’ve never lasted if it was not for all 24 other teammates pushing me and loving me and caring for me.” Not only was it their fellow pullers and moralers that got Odd Year through these grueling three weeks, but it was also those who have participated in past Pulls. Halkyard shares his experience: “Seeing alumni from the ’80s and ’90s was really special. Before that it just seemed like a crazy club, but to see all the old alumni come back really showed me that this tradition is much bigger than myself.” The tradition and legacy did not fail to leave its mark on Gomez as well. “The most inspiring part is the alumni, the men and women who come back to support the current teams,” Gomez said. “They came back to cheer us on because they know what it takes and feels like to be a puller or morale. It really reinforces the feeling of being part of a large family, making it something incredibly special and unique.”
The relationship between puller/moraler and coach is a fascinating one, and moraler Wishop feels strongly about the influence coaches have over their team. “This season would’ve been impossible without our coaches. I believe that 123 percent,” Gomez said. Odd Year coaches, after the conclusion of their victory, affectionately dubbed the 2-3 Pull Team “The Dirty Dozen.” At the end of the three-hourlong Pull on Saturday, the coaches had the privilege of telling their team they were victorious. This feeling, according to Halkyard, “was pure bliss. I fell off the rope and just started crying tears of joy with my moraler. It was truly a moment I will never forget.” When hearing the words of her coaches, Gomez said, “It was overwhelming. I put my head down in the dirt and burst into tears of pure joy. It was surreal. I didn’t know what else to do, so I smiled, cried and hugged a lot of people.” While difficult to put into words, that feeling of complete finality, success and happiness is one that gives us a glimpse into the mind of a Dirty Dozen team member after 6:00 p.m. on September 28. “All of the feelings I felt on Pull day will be ones I’ll distinctly remember for the rest of my life,” Wishop says. “Those three hours were the best ones of my life.”
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