Historic football bell replaced
Football players ring the bell after their Homecoming victory over Bates.
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This weekend, after the College beat Bates College on the football field, bells rang.
The bell placed just outside the stadium fence, on the side nearest to the Harold Alfond Athletic Center, is actually a replica of the original Revere bell, which was damaged from being struck too hard over the course of just nearly 25 years.
The original Revere bell was cast and inscribed in 1824, according to Earl Smith’s book, Mayflower Hill: A History of Colby College. The bell’s original purpose was to wake the students up for the mandatory 6 a.m. daily chapel service and to mark the beginning and ending of each class. As Smith explained, the bell’s use for early awakening resulted in several pranks involving the bell, including numerous clapper removals, switching the bell with Bowdoin’s bell and sending the bell to Harvard University, where it was then sent to the University of Virginia. The College hired an investigator to find the bell, which eventually made its way back to the new campus and was installed on the balcony of the Roberts Building.
In 1986, the football coach, Tom Austin, began the tradition of ringing the bell after each football win. The ritual’s purpose was to promote team unity, but it has since become an important school spirit tradition on the Hill. The team originally celebrated with a joyous march to the Roberts balcony to ring the bell but now stays close to its own field to continue the celebration. According to current football coach Ed Mestieri, “The bell is a significant part of our tradition....It was up to us to replace it, and we did because it’s a tradition that everyone looks forward to.”
At the beginning of the academic year, the College installed a new bell to continue the tradition. President William “Bro” Adams contributed about $10,000 from his presidential discretionary funds because he believed that traditions, such as the ringing of the bell and this year’s enactment of the Mule Mob rallies, are important to promoting school spirit. Two football alumni, Jon Barry ’98 and Tony Pasquariello ’99, donated the rest of the money.
“I think Jon, Tony and President Adams appreciated the traditional aspect of our program here at Colby. It wouldn’t have been possible to continue the tradition if it wasn’t for them,” Mestieri said. Adams said that in terms of school spirit, “the best judges are the students,” but he did comment that “school spirit resolves around the campus atmosphere. We are considered to have a good sense of community.”