A shirt with Delta Tau Delta letters. Archive | Col­legian

If you were one of the people running on a treadmill in the sports complex last Monday night during the Delta Sigma Phi vs. Alpha Tau Omega bas­ketball game, you probably didn’t like what you saw.

The game was played and spec­tated with an intensity bor­dering on mania. Trash talk, physical play, and testos­terone abounded on both sides.

Neg­ative energy began to seep onto the court when the first several fouls were called against DSP. Their players and sup­porters started com­plaining about what they saw as one-sided offi­ci­ating. ATO’s sup­porters yelled their approval of the calls and their team’s hot start, which did nothing to diffuse the tension.

Every­thing came to a head when an ATO player drove down the lane for a layup and ended up sprawled on the floor after a col­lision with a DSP defender. The two players then stood chest to chest and exchanged words for about ten seconds while the ref­erees tried to restart the game. The game did restart, and the game did end. Both teams and their sup­porters moved on.

This game was a part of Greek Week, an Olympic-style com­pe­tition of sorts where the Greek orga­ni­za­tions compete for bragging rights. Some people believe Greek Week unnec­es­sarily divides campus. For them, that game was a perfect example of what is wrong with Greek Week.

Less than an hour before the start of that fateful game, the same two fra­ter­nities com­peted against each other in Ping Pong. Steve Sartore rep­re­sented Alpha Tau Omega and Matt Painter rep­re­sented Delta Sigma Phi.

They had polar opposite playing styles. Sartore, the bigger and more muscled player, relied on a hard forehand to blast the ball past oppo­nents. Painter, who has a slight build, pre­ferred to play defense and return shots until his opponent made a mistake. The ATO sup­porters, 20 guys strong, stood or sat right next to the table while the DSP sup­porters sat in the bleachers and watched. During the first game, there was little to cheer about, and Sartore won handily.

Painter came out hot in the second game. He couldn’t miss the table and Sartore couldn’t hit it.

When he was leading 7 – 1, the DSP sup­porters began shouting their encour­agement from the stands while the ATO sup­porters watched ner­vously. This con­tinued for a few more nervous rallies.

Then Sartore got hot.

For the next few minutes, everyone in the gym got to see what hap­pened when the unstop­pable force met the immovable object.

Sartore started ripping fore­hands about as fast as the eye could track right at Painter, who calmly sat about 10 ft behind the table and returned every shot, no matter how hard it was hit. Every rally lasted for an eternity, as both players hit increas­ingly impressive shots, much to the delight of the crowd.

After one such rally, the two players stopped the game and shook hands before con­tinuing. Both players acknowl­edged the skill of the other.

“He returned eight of the hardest shots I’ve ever hit,” Sartore said. “Even­tually I missed the table and I had to tip my cap to the guy because it was such a fun point.”

“We each rec­og­nized the rarity and awe­someness of that point,” Painter said. “Although I ended up losing the match, I will never forget those incredible games and the sports­manship which occurred.”

Special moments like these, only pos­sible during Greek Week, are why it must be pre­served.

Greek Week is a neutral insti­tution. It is as pos­itive or as neg­ative as the par­tic­i­pants make it. If the par­tic­i­pants view it as life or death, it can cause fis­sions within a chapter and grow ani­mosity towards the other orga­ni­za­tions. If the par­tic­i­pants view it as a series of good-natured con­tests, Greek Week can have a uni­fying effect on the greek com­munity as a whole.


Sutton Dun­woodie is a sophomore studying political economy.