It is that time of year again. The leaves begin to turn and the rain returns to Seattle, and so do the alumni of the University of Washington for Homecoming. Except not this year, not if they value their health.
Football was first cancelled, then delayed until November. Apparently a spike in the number of Covid-19 cases has gripped the Greek System this October. It is not hard to see how this happened. Young men and women, thrown together in circumstances where they mostly look after themselves, generally have not looked after themselves.
Such was the case in the halcyon days of the 1970’s when this author attended the university and pledged Theta Chi fraternity, largely because there was no room in the dorms. In the post-Vietnam War period no one was interested in being part of any institution. The ethic was “every man for himself”.
An impressive physical plant now, at the time the place was rather run down. I recall my mother commenting the wind seemed to blow through the place.
I had bids from other houses but the reality of it was I liked the eclectic collection of young men already living there; Canadians, locals, and those from far away. It had been the football house in the 1960’s featuring such fantastic active chapter members such as Sonny Sixkiller, an American Indian who was also the Husky quarterback. in 1977 it featured soccer players and a competitive cyclist.
We well, misbehaved. I can see now the moral compass that preexisted our generation had been thrown out in the 1960’s. It is a wonder we did not get in more trouble. The film Animal House was released while I was there, and you know, it imitated life.
Presented here in this podcast are a few of the highlights, without going into the tribal initiation rights of Rush, rackouts, Hell Week or the keg drinking contest.
I am happy to say that on day in 2013 when the surviving members of our time gathered at the house, unannounced, we found the young men live there to be, well, civilized and the physical plant in good repair. An attempt was made to tell them how wild things were forty years earlier but I sensed a disinterest, if not distaste.
These young men gave me faith.
And yet the television continues to feature our picturesque fraternity house to represent the Greek System when reporting on the outbreak of the virus there. I wish they could find some other man’s memories to spark into his own podcast, made when I had just a moment in time at the end of a busy week in my law practice.