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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

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Texas A&M outfielder Jace Laviolette (17) robs a home run from Florida infielder Cade Kurland (4) in the top of the ninth inning during Texas A&M’s game against Florida at the NCAA Men’s College World Series at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Nebraska on Sunday, June 15, 2024. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
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June 16, 2024

‘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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