Putting the R-rating back into Greek Week

Chris Carmona

Remember when fraternities had an essence of vitality? No, of course not, you go to Villanova. But do you remember, let’s say in high school, when your conception of a fraternity – be it positive or negative – at least entailed an understanding of excitement? Surely, you’ve viewed at least one of the millions of college films (what seems to have become a subgenre) that features the standard, if not cliché, fraternity life. Being a member of a fraternity myself, I can ridicule the essence of Greek life at this school, because the universal mother-mocking metaphor applies. I can ridicule my mother, but you just sit there and listen.

First, let’s scan the fraternities that exist on campus. Not individually, but collectively. Can you name them all? I know I can’t, and I’m a Frat brah. This is because the only time you see their pathetic letters are on sorority-emulating sweatshirts. There are no on-campus houses. Instead, the University provides each Greek organization with a clipboard to decorate in Dougherty.

But Greek life shouldn’t be entirely dependent on on-campus housing. So let us examine other possible outlets where fraternities may flourish. Parties, for instance, are harder to get approved than Supreme Court justices. Should you successfully plan ahead four millennia and get a party approved, it’ll probably suck (unless it’s Fiji Island). So, the social spectrum is even more narrowly drawn.

That brings me to the main banter-point of this article: Greek Week. Wow. Greek Week is an abomination of its name. It’s merely a week for the skeletons of fraternity life to parade around in their t-shirts earning “spirit points,” a term that I had always assumed was designated for cheerleading competitions.

Absent are the hectic games of softball and drunken (dare I say drunken when discussing fraternal life?) events that other universities embrace, or at the very least turn a naked eye from. Like an empty shell of a Natural Light keg, this shell of Greek Week is made into an adult version of Wild-N-Crazy Kids. Just as competitive, and just as childish, only with frat brahs.

The chariot race is nothing more than a slightly dignified wheel barrel race and belongs only in county fairs and incestuous family reunions. Paint your barrel, drag it across Sheehan beach, but don’t associate this demeaning event with Greek life.

Tug of war: OK, I can see its appeal. If anything, my objection would be its support of the hyper-masculinity that we would like to move away from in the new age, but I have nothing against ridiculing beta males for their inferior strength. I simply think it’s cheesy when the events are taken so seriously that men train, strategize, wear weight-lifting gloves and play pump-up music prior to the event. My fraternity is often seen as the nay-saying group of Greek Week, when in reality, we’re merely trying to rekindle whatever string of humor and goodwill still remains in this overly competitive episode of Wild-N-Crazy Men.

I can remember when, as pledges, we stood at the tug of war line, awaited the whistle and released the rope, bowing our heads and walking off of the beach to a bewildered bunch of hyper-masculine, heart pounding brahs.

And finally, we have skit night. Sorority girls, sure, objectify yourselves with provocative dance numbers and clothes that dance along the bathing suit lines of your body; at least that charade seems relatively organic. But fraternity brothers organizing choreographed dances, cheering in costumes, pumping their fists to whatever nonsensical pop music pounds through the blushing speakers of the field house? And for what? To obtain points from judges who consist of petrified members of the faculty and third cousins of the Villanova community? If we had any sense of dignity, we’d either boycott this event, or celebrate it as the spectacle for which it deserves to be portrayed. I spit on skit night.

And the rest of the events are hardly even worth ridiculing. Can castles are for philanthropy events; they shouldn’t have to do with Greek competition. Flag football is excusable, but, again, would be a much enhanced experience while inebriated. Basketball: ditto.

Do I have a solution that doesn’t involve an unrealistic amount of leniency, a string of trite college expectancies and a shatteringly unhealthy effect on our bodies? No. Should I? It’s Greek Week. It’s the one week of the year that these clichés should be embraced.

I, personally, couldn’t differentiate between most of the fraternities on this campus, but maybe if we had the chance to make the week both social and enjoyably competitive, I’d have a better conception of these quasi-frats. Can we incorporate one tournament of Ultimate Frisbee? Can we have a keg toss? Anything, something, the exact opposite of this Greek Week would suffice.

If you’re in a fraternity and you’re thoroughly enjoying this week, don’t feel wounded. I mean no harm to you or your affinity for chariot races. I’m sure that, if forced to, I could find some appeal to this kosher version of Greek life. I, personally, was just never much for sack races, and I never had a yearning to be on Wild-N-Crazy Kids. But if I were, rest assured, my team would come in last.