Thursday, March 17, 2011

Frat Life 101: Night Of The Dunking Pledges

It was made abundantly clear to the Fall 1983 pledge class of Sigma Tau Gamma that we were expected to show the membership that we had unity, teamwork and most of all some backbone. The members wanted to make sure we exhibited the characteristics that they were looking for in prospective members. To that end we came up with a simple plan that by the end of the night had grown and expanded into something completely unforeseen and dare I say legendary. The fraternity had long had a tradition of throwing members, pledges, etc. into the river, primarily on their birthdays but on other occasions as well. We determined that this would be one of those other occasions.

One of the pledges came forth with a pair of handcuffs (we really didn't want to get into too much detail as to why he had them) and we decided that we would follow this time honored tradition by throwing our pledge trainer into the river. The pledge trainer is just what the name implies. He is given responsibility for training the pledges in fraternity history, rules, alumni and what is expected as individual pledges as well as a the pledge class as a group. Our trainer was Mark and we decided that the best time to get him would be as we were leaving the campus library from our mandatory weekly study hall. It made perfect sense due to the fact that after leaving we normally all walked out of the library together and most if not all of us would then go to the house to hang out.

On this night that would live in infamy we had a problem though. Besides Mark there was another member attending the study hall with us whom I'll call Les mainly because my memory is a little suspect at the moment. While we plotted our strategy it was suggested that if we had another pair of handcuffs then we could have simply altered the plan by taking both of them to the river however we didn't have an extra pair so it was a moot point. We simply decided that half of us would tackle Mark and get him handcuffed and the other half would tackle Les and subdue him. Divide and conquer. After that the first half would put Mark in a truck and start towards the river and then after they had left the rest of us would get away from Les and make our way as best we could to our spot and then let the dunking commence.

However this part of the plan proved to be unnecessary. As we left the library we surrounded the two members and almost immediately they knew something was up. We did as planned and split our forces and took them to the ground. They resisted as best they could but we had a numbers advantage over them and quickly had them at our mercy. As soon as Les realized that the plan didn't include dunking him he stopped struggling and told us that he had done his duty to try and help his brother out and that now he just wanted to see us throw him in the river. He promised that he would not interfere and was a man of his word. With that we loaded up Mark in the back of a pickup truck and off we went to the river.

Part of this tradition requires that if you throw someone into the river you must give them three things whether they use them all or not. First is a blanket so that they can get warm or dry off after exiting the river. Second is a cigarette and third is a beer. There can be no changing of these requirements. We had planned ahead and had all three of them for Mark. Another part of the tradition is that the person being thrown into the river has two options. They can go voluntarily and as such are allowed to remove as much of their clothing as they choose or they can resist and go in as they are. Mark chose to remove some of his clothing but not all (thankfully) and in he went. Afterwards we were feeling pretty good about ourselves and it was brought up that we shouldn't stop now so we brainstormed to think about which other member or members we could get next.

Stay tuned for part 2 of Night Of The Dunking Pledges coming soon.

Published by Don Leach

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