Sunday, December 21, 2008

Henry Pratt's Memories XVI

Continuing about the M.A.C. Frosh-Soph wars:

The fourth, non-sanctioned event was "the fight at the bridge". This occured on an old rickety wooden bridge over the Red Cedar located down river from the one which is now near the Womens' I.M. Generally the Freshman led by an upperclassman would just come up to it in a group and fight their way across by any method they could. But this year they were rather unfortunate in having a cadet officer by the name of MacGregor leading them.
"He apparently was an admirer of the Greek Phalanx. He ordered us to lock arms. At his 'forward march' we advanced to the center of the bridge when we met the mass of sophomores on the run. There were only about 350 Sophomores to our 700, they too were packed solidly front to back and hardly moved a foot. Due more to bad luck than combative fervor, I found myself in the second rank of Freshmen. As rank after rank came against one another in front the pressure became almost unbearable. I was sure I would come out with broken ribs, if even alive. Something had to give, and it did, but not the Sophomores, it was the bridge railing. I still have a photograph taken by an alert student showing the railing and a mass of Freshman falling into the river about eight feet below. Though this relieved the pressure on our left, the pressure from the rear kept up, and we slowly moved to the left and leaned in that direction. I had been second from the right and when the pressure from the rear was finally relieved I was at the edge, fighting to get turned around so I would fall feet first. Apparently six men in my rank had fallen off but I managed to hang on. The river wasn't deep enough to drown anyone, but there were several broken wrists and ankles".
Ah-h-h! The good old days!

(emailed July 18)

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