Holderness Day: It's About More Than Just a Game

Posted by River Turnbull '22


As the Proctor community nears the end of the final week of classes, it may seem that energy on campus is at its lowest as students and faculty focus on their academic work in preparations for exams. However, a tradition of rivalry, school spirit, and athletic competition, stretching back over forty years approaches rapidly, and with it one of the most anticipated days of the Fall Term: Holderness Day 2020! 

This rivalry between Proctor and Holderness is exceptionally important for both the competitors and the crowd, and has been for a long time. Although our schools have competed for over 100 years, this universally cherished day began in the 1960s and, apart from a two decade hiatus from the late 1990s to 2017, has been a part of Proctor culture ever since. Karl Methven, Dean of Faculty, explained this thrilling event in the video above, The Twelfth Player on the Field. “For all the teams, all through the season, the only games that really mattered were the games with Holderness,” said Karl. “Alumni would come back and ask how the season went, but what really mattered to them was how the Holderness game went. If the Holderness game was a victory, nothing else really mattered to the school.” 

HOlderness Day 5

For Proctor athletes, Holderness Weekend symbolizes the most prominent and, more importantly, enjoyable game of the season. Upperclassmen from numerous different fall sports tell their favorite moments from Holderness Day. “My freshman year it was really fun to play under the lights on a Friday evening because the whole student body was able to come out and support,” said Brynne Makechnie, captain of the girls’ varsity soccer team. “I also enjoyed being able to support the away games that happened at Holderness with so many other Proctor students.” Brynne truly hits it on the nose here; Holderness Weekend is memorable, not only for those competing, but also for those who get the opportunity to support their school hand-in-hand (metaphorically, of course) with their peers.


During a normal year, the Proctor community would pack the sidelines at Holderness to ensure that, despite playing away from home, our teams feel united with the rest of the school. However, strict COVID protocols have required the student body to rethink the format of the upcoming weekend, and how we demonstrate our school pride. “I'm impressed with the way student leadership has rallied to create opportunities to celebrate school spirit and enjoy being together Friday night,” said Gregor Makechnie, Director of Athletics. “It's clear they want to work through obstacles to ensure a quality culminating experience for the community as the fall term concludes.” 

Holderness Day 1

Gregor sounds excited about Friday night in particular for a reason: Friday evening, after dinner, buses will shuttle students to and from the Proctor Ski Hill where there will be a bonfire (prepared by the Woods Team), a pep rally, all-school manhunt on the Nordic trails, and lots of delicious food provided by Proctor’s Dining Hall staff and Weekend Team! However, the fun doesn’t stop there. “Not only will we compete on athletic fields and trails, we'll have the opportunity to enjoy the committed work of our dance team and the jazz/rock group,” As Gregor emphasized, “I think we're all going to have a great time this weekend.” 


At the conclusion of games on Saturday, a champion of Holderness Weekend 2020 will be decided based on points earned during each competition (every team except football will compete against Holderness with the winner of each game/race earning a point for their school). However, this day of athletic competition is about much more than victory over an opponent: it’s about the memories we make with those in and around our community, on and off the field. This fall has posed many challenges we have had to overcome, so it’s important to be introspective once in a while and acknowledge the work we’ve done to better ourselves in the face of adversity. Hornets, let’s finish the term strong!


Click here to read more Team Spotlights! 


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