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Hazing was just dumb

By Staff
Jim Grammer, When it was a game
In colleges and high schools across the country there has been a great uprising against something that was once taken for granted, the rituals of initiations such as the "A-Club" initiation that I had the misfortune to go through. I believe this is referred to as "hazing." I guess this is good because I sure would hate to go through what we went through way back when and I don't believe young people today would do it.
In my day the A-Club initiates were put through some awful things, humiliating and ridiculous things. The whole process lasted a week and if you survived the week, you deserved a letter just for that.
First they shaved your head. I don't mean buzz it off, but lather it up and shave it. Each A-Club member had a huge paddle especially painted and designed for his personal taste and he used it on the initiates at will. You were put through some terrible ordeal each night, such as a 200- yard long ditch out on Thomas field purposely filled with water in the middle of February and made to crawl through it time after time. We marched off to perform very embarrassing tasks in front of the girl's dorm with the girls hanging out the windows enjoying every minute of it.
We were made to sit in a bathtub full of ice water every night (and remember it was February) out in the parking lot and if you didn't stay a certain number of minutes they used the big paddles on you. Usually your buttock was frozen to the point you didn't feel the licks anyway and the only reminder of the incident was a bruised butt the next morning.
You were made to eat disgusting things, or at least attempt to as more often than not the item was regurgitated immediately. After supper each night the upper classmen would mix together a concoction made-up of all sorts of ingredients such as steak sauce, mayonnaise, lemon juice, pepper, milk, vinegar, mashed potatoes, and anything else that could make it any more revolting. Initiates were held down and forced to swallow this stuff and most just immediately threw it right back up.
Saturday night was the coup de grace, the finality of the entire ritual. If you survived that night you were proven worthy. If you were sent through that night you were probably a little nutty. First you could only wear a T-shirt, a pair of overalls, tennis shoes, no socks, and you could carry a flashlight. You were loaded-up in the back of a moving van; door closed and in total darkness and then the van made a short, two-hour stop at Denny Stadium. There you were exposed to some of the more degrading things once again and made to sit in the bathtub full of ice water to get you good and cold before the little journey.
Loaded back in the van with the door closed so there is not the slightest gleam of light and driven around for two to three hours so no one has a clue as to where you are, they begin to drop people off in twos. When it came my turn, Jeff Beard and I found ourselves on some desolate dirt road somewhere in the middle of the Talladega National Forest at about two o'clock in the morning. Jeff was a big ugly defensive tackle that had this pointed head that when shaved looked like something from another planet.
We begin walking, not knowing where we are going, but our mission was to find our way back to Tuscaloosa. After a couple of hours we come on to a paved road, so we know we're doing something right. After walking down the disserted paved two-lane road we hear an automobile coming in our direction. Jeff is determined to flag the driver down. As the engine noise is coming closer at a steady pace, Jeff steps out in the road and begins to wave his arms up and down. As the engine of what turned out to be an old pickup truck is going at a steady speed, the headlights shine on Jeff, this big, ugly creature, with his bald, pointed head, standing in the road. Suddenly the engine noise of the truck increases dramatically and the truck swerves to miss Jeff going at full speed. Jeff has to jump to get out of the way.
Finally after daylight we catch a ride on an 18-wheeler that takes us to Moundville and from there we hitch a ride to Tuscaloosa.
I'm sure there was some poor soul that reported a huge, ugly creature, with a bald pointed head, that was from outer space on that disserted two-lane highway in Hale County that cold February morning.