Friday, March 16, 2012

Frat Life 101: The Pledge Class Sneak

The Pledge Class Sneak

One of the requirements to complete pledgeship in Sigma Tau Gamma was the Pledge Class Sneak. Simply put the entire pledge class was to sneak out of town without being seen by a member and visit another chapter of the fraternity. Once there you called your chapter and informed them you were on your sneak and they had to guess where you had gone. You were required to take the pledge trainer and the fraternity president as well as any other members that you decided to invite. For my pledge class sneak it was decided that we would travel to Southwest Missouri State and visit the Sig Tau chapter there. In addition to the aforementioned trainer (Mark) and president (Chris) we also chose to bring along Gary and Spazz, two members that we enjoyed being around.

To make the journey Terry had put up sides and a canvas top on his flatbed pickup truck and we packed our entire class in the back. With four people sitting in the front seat that left about fourteen or so of us (my memory has faded over the years) to take up the space in the back. To put it nicely, we were packed in there like sardines along with sleeping bags, adult beverages and so forth. Mind you there was nothing extra taken that would prove to be useful, like food or a change of clothes, so you can see where our minds were. When you add in the fact that a lot of the people on this trip were consuming those adult beverages during the trip it made for an exciting ride.

I have two vivid memories of this drive. The first one was as we had just started out and were on a back road (comprised of dirt) literally sneaking out of Tahlequah. One of my pledge brothers suddenly had the urge to relieve himself and pulling over was not an option. To do so would risk delaying our departure and a remote chance of being seen thus rendering our sneak a failure. We were told that if the sneak failed we could not survive pledgeship. With a dilemma like this ingenuity is mans best friend so he leaned out the back of the truck and with two other pledge brothers holding onto his belt, he unzipped his fly and then proceeded to rid himself of his problem. Thankfully the notorious Oklahoma winds were not swirling at that time.

My second memory occurred after it had become dark. The truck pulled over on another country dirt road and Spazz drunkenly stumbled to the back of the truck saying something about Gary who was sitting next to me close to the cab of the truck. Spazz decided it would be funny to throw a cup of whatever he was drinking at Gary however in his inebriated state he completely missed Gary and got me instead. Even though I wore giant glasses at that time a large quantity of the unknown liquid somehow still ended up in my eyes which started burning immediately. As I started thrashing around yelling I recall someone telling me to relax, calm down, it was only beer but I knew that he was incorrect. Beer doesn't burn like that. It turns out it was whiskey which will burn your eyes so my reaction was decidedly appropriate.

I never did find out exactly what motivated those actions from Spazz that night and never will. He died some years later in a military flight accident. More than likely it was just a poor excuse for a joke fueled by alcohol which seemed to be a common occurrence during those years. After some time the burning subsided and the journey continued. We finally arrived at our destination and as we piled out of the back of the truck in tsunami like fashion we discovered some bad news. It seems our pledge class president had done a bad job on setting up our sneak. The chapter designated for our sneak was in their final week of pledgeship, affectionately know as Hell Week and since we were still pledges we could not go into their house and see anything that was going on.

Our membership foursome met with their members to decide what should happen in order to make sure that we fulfilled our obligations for the sneak. It was quickly decided one of their members would take us to a Greek (fraternity and sorority organizations) barn dance for Southwest Missouri State. Our members were deciding if they were going to stay at the house and "help" out with Hell Week so in the meantime we pledges decided to make the decision for them by covertly loading back into the truck in an attempt to leave them all behind and go forth on our one. What can I say, we were headstrong.

Success was in our grasp when Gary realized what was going on and he made a sudden and surprisingly fast (given his size and shape) dash to the back of the truck as Terry stomped on the gas. He managed to dive and grab ahold of the back of the truck only to be dragged behind on his knees for about ten feet until we could get Terry to understand that he had to stop. Terrified of what would happen (to us of course) we jumped out of the truck and helped Gary to stand. His pants were torn and his knees were bloody. He was dirty and disheveled but thanks partly to his inebriation he was also okay, suffering only from some surface scratches and abrasions. Water appeared and we cleaned him up and off we went with Gary in tow to the barn dance.

(Author's note: After writing this story I began to doubt if I remembered the correct university that we visited. Instead of waiting to verify it from one of my pledge class brothers I have elected to post the story and correct it later if necessary. In reality it takes nothing away from the story if I am wrong.)

To be continued..................

Written and Published by Don Leach. May not be used without permission from the author.

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