The impression prevails, among those who are accustomed to attend the athletic meetings, that by the new method of pulling the tug-of-war all the interest will be taken away. To a casual observer it would look as though very little interest or enthusiasm would attach to eight men pulling against each other, braced by cleats, with the end of the rope passed around a padded belt worn by the anchor; but, as in every game there are points, so in the tug-of-war there are tricks for gaining a fair advantage, used by the participants. The present tug-of-war team consists of four men, each man having the advantage of a thick cleat which is fastened to the floor. The ribbon is started at a point midway between the two teams, each side pulling for ten minutes, according to the Mott Haven rules, and at the end of that time the team, which has the ribbon on its side, is declared the winner. It is plain that the great strength of the team lies in its power of endurance, and the regularity with which the members heave and drop together. The position of anchor requires a great deal of tact and skill, especially in taking up the rope as the team comes up after a pull. An anchor may also materially help his team by practising various artifices to deceive the other team, as apparently rising and taking in the slack of the rope, thereby throwing the opponents off their guard for a moment. Upon the anchor also devolves the principal work between the pulls, for he has to hold almost the entire pull if the enemy make a sudden effort which is not quickly responded to by his team. Every one finds a tug-of-war the most trying exercise when first practised, because he does not know how to husband his strength, by resting between the heaves when the whole strain is borne by the anchor. Another cause of over-exertion is in not understanding the proper use of the legs, which really should bear the principal strain. In this respect, the tug-of-war is much like the lifting machine, in that the hands and arms merely serve to hold the rope, while the legs do all the pulling. Of course, it is important that one should have a good grip, and in this connection it is found that there are many men who, although powerful pullers, are utterly incapable of serving on a team, as, after pulling for two or three minutes, their hands become numb and refuse to hold the rope. Such men can often serve as anchors, where the action of the hands is not so continuously required. The question will naturally be asked, is not such a continuous and severe strain dangerous? Undoubtedly it is, according to several authorities, who say that there is danger of a man's severely straining himself during a continuous pull of ten minutes. This is especially the case with young boys, so much so, that one teacher of gymnastics in Boston will not allow a pull of over three minutes. A proposition was made that each tug-of-war in our coming meetings should consist of three pulls of five minutes each with a slight interval between, but this was considered impracticable, as the seats would have to be changed too often. In regard to the class teams a few words may be said:
'82 have pulled against a picked team in town. They pull in form, but lacking the vigor and confidence which '83 manifests.
'83 pulls in the best form of any team. They have pulled against scratch teams, and have not showed their full power yet. They feel quite confident and will undoubtedly do well.
'84's team is composed of stocky men, who pull a powerful team, but lack the precision of '83.
'85 is reported as having gained points from Boston teams. They pull in fair form, but lack the experience which many of the other teams have had.