Seasoned moralers reflect on 120th Pull

(Photos by Kelly Ocock)

The Pull is Hope College’s longest standing tradition, as well as one of the nation’s oldest. It takes place every fall semester on the Black River with odd- year against even-year, freshmen versus sophomores.

This year’s Pull took place Saturday at 3 p.m. Each team had 40 members. Three hours and one rope. The Pull is much more than a simple tug-of- war. Odd year pulled to victory tallying up the score at even year to odd year, 56-45.

The tradition began back in 1898. Three weeks of practice led up to Pull Day with The Anchor reporting in Nov. 1898, “Come out and see the tug-of- war between the Sophomores and the A’s and Freshmen.”

The A’s were part of a high school Hope operated back in 1898. They partnered with the freshmen.

The Pull reaches back and stands out as more than a tradition for pullers and moralers. It has created life-long bonds and lasting friendships. Even-year proudly displays their colors red and white. Odd-year fiercely sports a maroon and gold.

Allison Tooley (’18) was a Pull Coach for the even-year ’20 Pull team this season and was a moraler both her freshmen and sophomore years. Tooley’s parents, Eric Tooley (’87) and Anne Hathaway Tooley (’88) were a part of the Pull family in their time at Hope The importance of Pull is reflected by the Tooley family who share the impact it has made on their Hope experience, and the meaning goes far beyond just a day in a pit with a rope.

The Pull is a tradition that stays in touch with its roots and meaning. Alumni and students involved in Pull reflect on their time years after graduation.

Kirsten VanWieren (’19) came to Hope with knowledge on The Pull following in Emily VanWieren’s (’12) footsteps. “My time in Pull taught me so much. I learned that you have so much more to give than you think. It has shown me how rewarding hard-work can be whether you win or lose,” VanWieren shares from her moraler experience.

Every Pull, the pullers push themselves beyond their limit and give more than they thought possible. With 20 pullers and 20 moralers on each team, they create a united front with full heart.

In a 1988 interview for News from Hope College, coach Gary Kunzi (’89) shared a bit more on the appeal when he discussed the challenge of reaching beyond limits. “There is no way that anybody can just get on a rope and pull for three hours. I’m convinced that it’s physically impossible. The only way to do it is to go beyond what you ever think you can do.”

See a spread from this week’s Features here!

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