Rush in the Stadium

This installation of the Franklin Stove Blog is a departure from the usual format.

It’s fictional, based on accounts of actual events.

It might even be considered a ghost writ post.

This is a work of fiction. Any similarity to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events, is purely coincidental.

Hey, it’s me Rose again.

Sorority Recruitment came to a climax on Sunday in my new home away from life–Bryant Denny Stadium.

Have I told you this yet? When I inhabit a space and become familiar with it, I can instantly “teleport” to any area in it. I can pass right through any of the living beings that are present. I have no idea what it must feel like to them. I feel a little warmth. I wonder if they feel a sudden chill? I doubt if anyone felt anything on Sunday. It was scorching hot in the stadium. I’m not as sensitive to temperatures as the living are though. But I could tell the girls were feeling the heat because of their sweaty skin and the sweat stains on their clothes. My sense of smell, by the way, is also thankfully diminished.

One of the stadium workers left a copy of a Rolling Stone magazine article that he’d copied about the HBO Rush documentary.

It said:

 “Helmed by Introducing, Selma Blair director Rachel Fleit, the film has already begun production in Tuscaloosa now that rush week has concluded. This year, over 2,500 students vied for bids from the university’s 19 sororities, for which the average cost of dues for a new member in her first semester is around $4,100, according to the Alabama Panhellenic Association (via the New York Times).

“When a Vice Studios producer approached a former University of Alabama Alpha Phi sorority member about participating in the documentary, she hesitantly went along with it until questions about the connection between her sorority life and her religious beliefs arose. She then backed out of the film. Other young women, particularly those who cashed in on ‘Bama Rush Tok’ as a way to build a following on social media, didn’t think that it was worth jeopardizing their chance at receiving bids.

“‘It was like a joke at first because everyone was like, if you post, you’ll become famous,’ a current student at the University of Alabama told the Times. ‘Then reporters actually started to come and then we were told to not talk to them.'”

Wow! Social media has really changed the game.

I’m going to have to figure out how to go online. I used to be able to use the screens of my fellow Tutwiler residents. I would be able to use a keyboard. I can physically exert enough to type. I also wish there was a Crimson White news stand in the stadium.

Bid Day on Sunday was when all those girls found out which sorority they would be joining. The screams from the selected girls would’ve been blood curdling, if I had any to curdle. Then they started running out of the stadium. It reminded me of one of those zombie movies that George Romero used to make, except they were sprinting and screaming at the top of their lungs and the zombies just silently staggered along in a shambling walk. Like the zombies, they seemed irrepressible.

I suppose that a lot of them will soon demonstrate their herd mentality by partying on pastureland during a swap. I can see that happening in a week for sure. I wonder if there are zombie cows?

The girls that were successful during Rush had run a real gauntlet. I remember being told about the Rush process when I lived at Tutwiler. They had to get letters of recommendation for each sorority from a current sorority member or alumnus. Some cheated by getting a distant relative to write one or even persuading a stranger who was in a sorority to write one. Potential new members went from hearing door songs to being served ice-water-tea to finally sweating it out in the stadium. On the way they got swag, sorority tee shirts, hats and other cheap paraphernalia, while smiling so much their jaws probably hurt. The cottage industries that catered to the Greeks made a killing.

The impetus for sororities had been to be the top house so that their members would be sure to be invited to the coolest frat parties. Of course when a pledge actually made it to a frat party room, they would be groped and bumped into by drunk, horny boys, one of whom even might be a “suitable candidate for marriage.” The boys would yell “Motorboat her!” Pledges who were able to hold their liquor could avoid being raped.

Although the pledges sounded like a herd of banshees on Sunday, I doubt if any of the “residents” of Evergreen Cemetery were aware of them anymore than they would be of the stadium crowd chanting, “We’re gonna beat the hell out of you,” on game days. My first game with Bryant-Denny Stadium as my home away from life is coming right up.

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