Sig Tau brothers to relive glory days at Shipp

June 06, 2008|By BILL KOHLER

"We're renting a limo that will drive us all around so we don't get into any trouble," I say.

She doesn't say anything.

"It's just us guys. Fraternity brothers. Hanging out."

She looks at me like I just told her that I was going to get a new Lexus for $20 a month.

"We haven't seen each other in 20 years, even longer for some of us," as my sales pitch continues.

My wife finally responds: "That's all you're going to do? Ride around to bars? No girls? Just all guys?"

"Yes," I assure her.

"We'll probably stop at Sheetz for some hot dogs."

Again the Lexus look.

I don't blame her for not understanding and thinking that I'm full of it.


It's hard to explain the connection that fraternity brothers have. I never quite got it until I pledged and never really felt it until I pulled away from the Sig Tau house in my '77 Bug the day after I graduated from Shippensburg University.

We went through a lot together. Pledging a fraternity was like going through boot camp. We were tight and we had each other's backs. We knew where everybody was for those exhilarating and exhausting six weeks.

And I'm not saying everything was perfect. We argued, talked smack (although I think we called it ragging on each other back then) and even fought. I got in plenty of fights (mostly verbal), even with my closest buddy, Hoa.

Some guys I couldn't stand to be around sometimes.

We were boys being boys and men trying to be men.

We grew together and learned together.

We matured together (well some of us did), and we had fun together.

Even though we had spats and ragged on each other relentlessly at times, what made the bond strong was the knowledge that we were not just individuals, we were members of a group.

We could still be individuals within the group, but I had 30-some brothers to hang with, to study with, to laugh with, to play pitch with, to talk smack about the TKEs with.

And the bond is the tightest with pledge brothers. You get the us-against-the-world mentality and a won't-quit attitude that serves you well throughout college and later in life as well.

So the members of the Spring '85 Sig Tau pledge class are in their 40s, married with children and saddled with the responsibilities of life.

Guys with nicknames like Scary Barry, Nero, Spike, Joey Bag of Doughnuts, Axe, Yo-yo, Q-Tip, Wa-wa and Speeder are now fathers, leaders, directors, company VPs and editors.


I think about them often and threaten to call or e-mail. I vow to do better in my next 20 years.

Tonight, many of us will be reunited in Shippensburg during alumni weekend.

I'm curious how we turned out. I'm curious about whether we'll start right up where we left it 20 years ago at the Sig Tau house next to Watha's farm. I'm guessing there will be plenty of stories, a lot of laughs and probably some ragging on each other.

One thing I don't have to guess about is that if we get into any trouble or problems, we'll be there for the other guys. We'll always have each other's back.

Just like brothers should.

Bill Kohler is Tri-State editor of The Herald-Mail.

Your turn

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