The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The intersection of Bizzell Street and College Avenue on Monday, Jan. 22, 2024.
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Texas A&M LB Taurean York (21) speaks during the 2024 SEC Media Day at the Omni Hotel in Dallas, Texas on Thursday July 18, 2024. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
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Bob Rogers, holding a special edition of The Battalion.
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Chancellor John Sharp during a Board of Regents meeting discussing the appointmet of interim dean Mark Welsh and discussion of a McElroy settlement on Sunday, July 30, 2023 in the Memorial Student Center.
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Texas A&M System Chancellor John Sharp announced Monday he will be retiring on June 30, 2025.  A figure notorious in state politics,...

‘I didn’t do it for the beer. I did it for the ring’

Muster, Silver Taps, Ring Day, Bonfire Remembrance — a look at many Aggies’ calendars gives you an idea of how deeply tradition permeates this campus. A lot of traditions passed down from one class to the next strengthen the Aggie network — but not everything needs to be passed down. 
There are remnants of the past tucked away in the present, and sometimes they outlive their usefulness. There comes a time when tradition meets innovation, and one must give way. In the case of Aggie Ring dunks, some traditions are merely rationalizations for continuing the same self-destructive patterns.
My great-grandfather was an alcoholic. It’s a fact I learned from the many stories my grandfather told me about his childhood. The disease of alcoholism itself is something I watch my cousin suffer through. With him, it’s easy to see how he rationalizes his drinking: celebrating. 
So imagine my skepticism about celebrating earning the Aggie Ring by pouring five cans of Bud Light into a glass pitcher. 
Ring dunking is perhaps the most official “unofficial” tradition the Aggie family shares. It’s ubiquitous with the Aggie Ring, a rite of passage both underground and on display. But it also innately connotates alcohol consumption with success, and promotes a romanticism of alcohol that’s ultimately hollow. 
It’s no surprise the university’s official stance on ring dunking is negative; the open endorsement of alcohol would be a public-relations nightmare. But even without the university’s approval, the popularity of ring dunking continues to thrive. I can’t begin to count the number of ring dunks I’ve attended, and it always ends the same way — with a towel and a mop.
Look- —  I don’t want to kill the party. Celebrate how you want to celebrate. But know where the line between moderation and excess rests, and know when to ride it. Be careful not to confuse what you want with what tradition wants for you. It’s your choice, and it will always be your choice.
As for my dunk — my pitcher was decidedly less alcoholic than my chugging mates’ thanks to the wizardry of a sink faucet. The color was a perfect amber brown though, and no one suspected a thing. Call me what you will, but I still consider myself an Aggie. I didn’t do it for the beer. I did it for the ring.
Mason Morgan is an English senior and opinion editor for The Battalion.

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