Athletic Director Gregor Makechnie encourages traditions, and--for a less-traditional school--Proctor does honor its past. You'll have no trouble honoring the past around Head Football Coach Ben Rulli, for whom the game is all about character and heart. Saturday afternoon at Leonard Field, the team charged the field through a sea of screaming students, as teams did decades ago.
Team Captain fifty-five years ago, Artie Pratt '56 joined Spence Wright--who coached Proctor football 1951-71--for the coin toss before kick-off.
In another nod to tradition, Gregor produced the top hat, scarf and cane sported by the "Keeper of the Spirit" over many decades. In those days, students competed for the honor of leading us in cheers. Now, as we re-introduce the Keeper, several students shared the role: Jack Bender (who surrendered to protect his vocal chords for Sunday's choral concert,) Phil Nihan, Iñigo Jimenez-Oyarzun (who has cheered at a lot more bullfights than football games!) and Joey Mitchell.
This game was fun for Proctor fans, but not for our friends from Holderness. Our running game was awesome, and we picked up seven turnovers. Ryan Peel '13 ran with abandon and flipped into the end zone on this spectacular score.
At halftime, while the jazz/rock band entertained, alumni/ae gathered for a photo.
The emotion on the field following the final whistle flowed like tears, and there were plenty of tears. One coach after another addressed the squad, declaring their love and support for these boys, and inviting them to call for help in any situation...ever...in the future. The teams lined up for the coaches' presentation of the Holderness-Proctor Plaque...another tradition restored.
Proctor players insisted that Artie Pratt join them for this sweet moment.
It is interesting that Proctor increasingly embraces its traditions (and creates new ones) over time. Any tradition that fosters the kind of spirit and character we witnessed this weekend is welcome!
In Friday's unforgettable assembly, Ben Rulli presented Honorary Captain Artie Pratt '56 a jersey with his number 25.
Artie Pratt '56 shakes hands with Holderness captains at the coin toss.
Phil as Keeper Of the Spirit.
And Iņigo as Keeper Of the Spirit.
The completion of Ryan's spectacular, acrobatic TD.
Jazz/rock entertaining at halftime.
Hey, it's chilly out here!
A justifiably emotional Mike Lombard '12, first recipient of the Artie Pratt Teammate Award (a new tradition) with a justifiably emotional Artie Pratt '56.
Honor personified: Rick Eccleston (yes, that's Tom's son) presents the Holderness-Proctor Plaque to Ben Rulli.