By Ethan Calof
Thursday afternoon, the University of King’s College men’s rugby team successfully hauled a 17,500 pound bus several hundred meters. However, they fell well short of their goals to raise funds for their squad and donations for local food banks.
The pull took place behind the campus on Castine Way. The event, organized by team member Wesley Petite, was the latest in a line of fundraisers for the squad.
“It was kinda spontaneous,” Petite says. “It’s a better way of raising funds than the regular bake sale tactics that we usually go about.”
“It uses the general activity of the rugby team, which is our muscle.”
Unfortunately for the team, the fundraiser was attended by only about a dozen people. In total, they raised a mere $10 and one can of creamed corn for the food banks.
Petite says he expected 200 to 300 people to attend, with each attendee donating one dollar, which was recommended on the official Facebook event. According to him, that would have been a “good contribution.”
Petite cites the event’s timing as the reason for the sparse attendance. Because the university year is about to end, several students are bogged down with exam preparation and the like.
Due to the timing, many team members were unable to make it out to the bus pull, which Petite says made it “all the more interesting.” At its peak, the bus had nine rugby team members pulling it.
The event was originally scheduled for the previous Friday, but hail scuttled those plans and forced the change in date. The rescheduled event on Thursday took place under clear skies.
Prior to the actual pull, Nicola Embleton-Lake, who is in charge of student event bookings with Facilities Management, was handing personal liability forms to the team members.
The forms, which stated that the university would not be responsible for bus-related injuries, reminded team members of the monumental weight of the hunk of metal they were facing.
“It’s a little intimidating, I’m not going to lie,” said Cam Mitchell, who is in his second year on the rugby team. “But what can I say, I’m gonna do it anyways. There’s no point in worrying.”
Mitchell anticipated the bus bringing a world of pain on his shoulders.
“Afterwards, I’ll be tired. Arms sore. Skeleton sore. Walking home will not happen. Being carried home will probably happen.”
The first attempt at the pull failed to dislodge the bus from its resting place. However, when additional rugby players grasped the blue rope for their second attempt, the players synchronized their movements and managed to drag the bus to the end of the road through the nadful of cheering fans.
Afterwards, several players were feeling the burn.
“My body is telling me, ‘Why the heck don’t you listen to your brain once in a while?’” said Benjamin Blum. “I’m going to curl up in a ball.”
Even though the team didn’t raise as much money as originally hoped for, they felt pleased that they were able to complete such an immense physical task.
Petite says his spirits were raised by White’s Transit, who donated the bus, telling him how they could improve next year’s edition of the event. He says it will probably take place in the fall where there are fewer commitments to dance around.
Besides the money, the team was still happy.
“(Pulling a bus) goes against every single brain fiber I have, but it was fun,” said Blum.
Watch the rugby team’s second attempt at pulling the bus: