TF, a freshman at Loyola University Chicago, stays in Mertz Hall, a dorm at Loyola Chicago. One tradition they have there is “Mertz til it Hurtz”. TF explains: “There is a Freshman tradition called Mertz til it Hurts. This is named after the freshman dorm Mertz. The floors compete against each other in various challenges. The competition is where students climb the 18 flights of stairs of Mertz tower as quickly as possible. The “Hurtz” comes from your shins hurting. ”
TF is a freshman at Loyola University Chicago. She is a relative of mine and is in her first year in college. As a freshman she would have participated in the Green Door tradition very recently.
At USC, due to zoning codes and safety, we do not have very tall dormitories. The dorm I stayed in, Marks Tower, only had 8 floors, so this idea of a competition to get to the top floor was not an idea that we had. What this shows is the spirits and effort that Loyola Chicago students have towards their dorm’s competition. Since TF mentioned how people are very competitive at it, it shows how even over a small things like climbing 18 flights of stairs, Loyola students are very competitive and devoted to their craft, even in times of stress on them.
My brother went to a small liberal arts college in Holland Michigan. He remembers “The Pull” vividly:
Skye: The Pull is a tradition that goes back 117 years. Every fall the sophomores challenge the freshman to a gladiatorial variation of tug of war. It takes place across the Black River. 16 men on each team, 16 women serving as the callers of the cadence and in charge of “morale”. The teams train for weeks, they shave their heads, and they put on war paint. They run throughout the campus carrying the heavy thick ropes. Trenches are dug, with footrests of dirt mounded up. The pullers will lie in the trenches to pull as they push their feet against the dirt mounds. The actual day of the pull thousands come from throughout the region to watch along either side of the river. There is a lot of guttural shouting and cheering. Mud is generated.”
Me: How long does it last?
Skye: “A typical pull goes on for approximately 3 hours before one of the teams is pulled into the river. There have been years when the exertion has gone on for over 14 hours. More recent years have brought rules that allow for the pull to end at three hours even if no one has been pulled into the river yet. The teams go by the names “Odd” and “Even” corresponding to the class year.”
Analysis: In a very conservative, Christian area of the Midwest, emotions are often kept inside and the behavior is quite circumspect. The Pull stands in stark contrast to this buttoned-up way of life in Holland, Michigan. Hope College prides itself on the purity and mild attitudes of its students. A loud and seemingly violent event like The Pull is and anachronism at this Conservative Christian Dutch College.