OT: Taylor vs. Gomberg Tug of War - Is This Still a Thing?

Submitted by vertiGoBlue on October 21st, 2016 at 6:36 AM

I was a Taylor House (South Quad) resident from 1979-81. On Homecoming Saturday at zero-dark thirty, the RA's came through the halls and dragged us out of bed. We'd march (using a very broad definition of "march") down to the Huron River and pull on a long rope (with the folks from Gomberg house on the other end of the rope/other side of the river).

We were 1-1 during my two years.

I was not a fan.

Does this still happen?

Here's an article with a great photo from the 1969 ToW (which pre-dates my years by a decade). Gotta love the Jack Purcells on the guy at the front of the rope!!! And, the mildly amused expression on the face of the kid on the left border of the photo.

I'll put the photo here ...


Carl Spackler

October 21st, 2016 at 7:03 AM ^

stopped it a few years ago because the RA's were allowing safe spaces to be violated and the "anchors" on the rope felt that they were being body shamed.  




October 21st, 2016 at 7:28 AM ^

I was in Taylor House in the mid 2000's and this was still happening, though it was no longer over the Huron River. It may have been just the RAs that were there during that time though, I'm not sure it continued after we left.


October 21st, 2016 at 7:36 AM ^

So, hello.

I think I got a pass on that as I was in the MMB, but I don't remember.

Our RD was Gerry Baer?  I can't remember the 4th floor RA's name, but he was cool.

Did you watch the Miracle on Ice with the rest of us in the Taylor house lounge?


October 21st, 2016 at 9:23 AM ^

Hello to you, RGard!!

I was on the 4th floor. Our RA was Mike Burton - I'm connected to him on LinkedIn, but we've not really stayed in touch. I remember Gerry (at least, by name). Didn't he kinda look like a bear (burly, lots of hair)?

While walking north on State Street for the Oct 1980 ToW, someone had the bright idea (since there was a whole pack of us) to start lifting cars parked along State Street up onto the sidewalk. Mike and Gerry were vociferously opposed, and made us stop after 2 or 3 cars had been lifted and moved. 

I did not watch the miracle on ice in the lounge, but remember my Yooper hallmates being very excited about it and piling into my room to tell me all about it.

Other of my hallmates of note included Anthony Carter and Paul Girgash. 


October 21st, 2016 at 11:50 AM ^

And yep, Gerry was a significantly hirsute.

Gerry drove me to the UofM hospital the night of the last day of classes to get stitches.  Not my best moment.

Cool about the cars!

I think my friend Wes Dopp lived on your hallway.  I was in the last room on the left before you went down the back steps crammed in with 3 others.

Excellent to read your response.


October 21st, 2016 at 5:55 PM ^

Check out the user name, and see if that is enough hint for you to guess who I am. The Tug of War died off sometime in the 1990's. The university and dorms got serious about enforcing the 21 year old drinking age later in the 80's according to the later RA's I know. Those Tug of Wars I participated in from 1976-1981 were lots of fun, but like many things the University and South Quad changed almost everything in the later 80's and beyond. Greetings to all of you from Mike B!


October 22nd, 2016 at 9:26 AM ^

Hi Mike,

OP (Andy S.) here. If you recall, I was in 4711 in '79-'80 and 4713 in '80-'81 (or maybe vice versa). Good to hear from you.

Thanks for the info.

So am I interpretting your post correctly that residents (many of whom were U21) just stayed up all night partying/drinking "in preparation for" the ToW? (I honestly don't remember that aspect of it - just the being roused very early, and the cold waters of the Huron the year we lost). And, thus, it was decided that the ToW was contributing to the drinking problem (U21 or otherwise), so better to do way with it?

Understandable, I suppose. And I certainly wouldn't have missed it were it not there during my two years in Taylor. But, it makes for good reminiscing (and a moderately good thread on MGoBlog).

rob f

October 21st, 2016 at 8:59 AM ^

that gives out participation trophies, Mabel, and if you went to college in the late 80's (or approximately), why yes, I'll gladly accept both your trophy and your congratulations!

Besides, (other than dumb Kyle) we all know that you're not a dummy.


October 21st, 2016 at 8:13 AM ^

Do you also think the Mud Bowl is dumb?

What about the Naken Run (RIP)?

Painting the Rock?

Spinning the Cube?

The Grave Walk?

Not stepping on the M on the Diag?

Personally, I think an intra-house tug-of-war over the river sounds like fun, as long as it's voluntary and I don't need to be dragged out of bed at dawn to do it.  I'm sure there are plenty of students who would do it voluntarily.  But maybe they're dumb, too?


October 21st, 2016 at 8:24 AM ^

Never had a tug of war, but I distinctly remember the strong marijuana odor in the stairwell outside Gomberg.  Also remember Gomberg denizen Aaron Shea throwing a kegger in his dorm room and then having his room catch fire after he left for the weekend.  

Abe Froman

October 21st, 2016 at 12:48 PM ^

My roommate: "that snowball fight was awesome. I drilled dhani jones in the head with a snowball right before I came inside."

He looks at us expecting to be congratulated. We are amazed and becoming enraged.

My other roommate and I: "FUCK YOU, ____! You could have injured him!! Dude is integral part of the defense."

Maize and Blue in OH

October 21st, 2016 at 11:02 AM ^

I was in Hunt House as a freshman in 1987.  We had to carry the rope since our house was the defending champion.  We got killed because all of the sophomores were smart enough to refuse to go.   


October 21st, 2016 at 11:40 AM ^

80-82. I can't remember the year, but one of those years we stole the rope as I recall.

This wasn't well appreciated by Taylor or Gomberg.

BTW - current Detroit mayor Mike Duggan was an RA at Gomberg during these years.

Duggan's nickname was "Sluggo".


If you take a look at him, you will understand why.