Monday, February 18, 2008

When World's Collide

This weekend I participated in two worlds that I had very little prior knowledge of, but threw myself into the mixer of them both and hope I would come out without too much self-inflicted damage.

The first of these unknown worlds was Texas A&M University in College Station. I had worked with Aggies at Philmont and I currently work with them at the Dynamo as well. I have known about their traditions, rituals, etc. for quite some time, but there's nothing quite like experiencing the real thing. Friday night my Philmont Ranger buddy Jameson had his ring dunking party. At TAMU, class rings are a big deal and everyone gets one because that is the tradition. When an Aggies gets their ring, they drop it into a pitcher of pitcher, chug it, and the time it takes you to drink to drink the pitcher is something you are supposed to remember your entire life. I don't quite get it either, I'm sure Aggies would find IU's traditions a little strange too. But it doesn't stop there, my friend Jameson is in the Corps of Cadets. TAMU was originally founded as a military academy and did not enroll women to the school until the 1970's. These days it is basically the "Purdue of Texas" but it still holds true to its military traditions by keeping the Corps of Cadets program. So at 0800 Saturday morning, Jameson joined his Fox Company "brothers" for PT on the quad. I was still hungover. That afternoon we went to a basketball game. TAMU does not have cheerleaders. They have Yell Leaders that are from the Corps and every yell is done hunched on your knees. During one of their songs, everyone interlocks legs and sways back and forth and all I could do was hang on for the ride. I like checking out other universities to get an idea of what other experiences were like. It also makes me appreciate my time at IU even more because it shows how unique and special my alma mater really it. Even though I had fun, I still like TAMU is a cult. Sorry Aggies. You can try to gig me later.

After a two hour drive through thunder storms, down pours, wind, and possible tornado conditions, I arrived in Dallas to see my sister compete in a cheerleading competition. But this wasn't just any cheerleading competition, it was the NCA National Championships- which still means nothing to me. Anyways, I enjoyed seeing my parents and sister. My good friend Cory was there in the exact same hotel for a pharmacy conference. We bought beer and cigars and I hung out with his school friends for the remainder of the night/early morning. But no amount of alcohol, nicotine, etc. could have prepared me for what I was about to witness the next day and I'm not talking about visiting Dealy Plaza and standing on the Grassy Knoll. I'm talking about the actual cheerleading competition itself. I had no idea how big this other kind of cult had become. I don't even know where to begin. Walking into the convention I saw a grown man wearing a bright purple tracksuit that had "Cheer Dad" embroidered on the chest. This same man wore a purple afro wig as well. Inside, I saw more skin in one place than ever before and none of it looked to be over the age of 16. Jailbait. Nothing but jailbait as far as the eye could see. The costumes were flamboyant and covered in rhine stones. These "girls" were caked in make-up and other "add-on" type features. Some things were so unbelievable they cannot be described because such words do not exist. The whole event was easily a multi-million dollar operation. I was impressed by the level of skill and athleticism required for the routines I saw, even though short- 2.5 minutes are allowed. T-shirts, giveaways, lights, fog machines, an emcee- I could go on and on. I was blown away.

I think it's great for girls to be involved in athletic competition, but the only thing that I really really had problem with was the number of guys I saw there. I'm not talking about innocent bystanders like myself, but guys that were on actually competing on these squads. Guys wearing varsity letter style jackets and trolling around wearing rhine stone covered outfits like it ain't a thing. My bitterness and anger only comes from the fact that there is a huge shortage of real men in America these days. No one knows how a real man is supposed to act and behave. In our world of material possession and pursuit of health, wealth, and happiness, the current generation men does not take the time nor effort to teach the generation below him. This neglect has been going on for years. Manhood is becoming a lost art and I don't how guys jumping around like a bunch of fruitcakes helps the situation. Maybe I'm just old fashioned and a homo-phobe. I guess this is what it's like when worlds collide.

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