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Flag-rush is a game that was once played by the sophomore and freshman classes at Amherst College in Massachusetts. Its origins are from the Japanese game Botori.


Botori was once played at naval, military and other schools. Botori is played with two sides of equal number, usually about one hundred, each of which defends a pole about 8 ft (2.4 m) high firmly set in the ground, the poles being about 200 yd (180 m) distant from each other. The object of each party is to overthrow the adversaries' pole while keeping their own upright. Pulling, hauling and wrestling are allowed, but no striking or kicking. The players resort to all kinds of massed formations to arrive at the enemies' pole, and frequently succeed in passing over their heads and shoulders one or more comrades, who are thus enabled to reach the pole and bear it down unless pulled off in time by its defenders.[1]

In the flag-rush a small flag is set upon a padded post about 6 ft (1.8 m) high, and is defended by one class while the other endeavours to overthrow it. If the flag is not captured or torn down within a certain time the defending side wins.[1]

Flag-rush was instituted at the request of the faculty to take the place of the traditional cane-rush, a general fight between the two classes for the ultimate possession of a stout walking-stick. The cane-rush became so rough that students were frequently seriously injured.[1]

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  1. ^ a b c  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Botori". Encyclopædia Britannica. 4 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 305.