The Time-Honored Fraternity Tradition Of “Bagging”

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As we all know, the first day of spring carries with it resounding excitement for the reincarnation of some time-honored traditions on fraternity rows nationwide.

Whether it be your house’s yearly spring break trek to conquer and destroy anything in its path at some storied paradise of booze and sex, the reigniting of a decade’s old rivalry with another house that never fails to see intramural sports competition breed physical confrontations, the first day of spring brings with it the beginning of an epic and unparalleled run of ridiculous fraternity living, leading up to finals.

Some of my fondest memories from living in-house for two spring semesters originate from a hilarious tradition we maintain known as “Bagging Season.”

The term “bagging” lends itself to camping out over entrances to the house while waiting for some unsuspecting party to come strolling up, trying to gain access. At their disposal, the bagger, but more often baggers, has a multitude of water-filled pots so graciously and unknowingly donated by our long-time chef, Bonnie. Upon entering the house, said unsuspecting victim is 100% fair game to be met with a Gatorade bath-like tidal wave of water from above. Reactions are priceless 99% of the time, every time.

Commencing on the first day of spring with a strategically planned bagging of the president, the prank carries on until semester’s end. The splendid tradition has been ever present in our house since before our current chapter advisor, Doc, was an active. He pledged in the fall of ’59.

It goes without saying that there is obviously some prime real estate that goes along with being successful in the bagging game. Notoriously, there are a few spots in the house (front door, side door, portico) that ALWAYS have fully loaded pots and containers ready on the window sills awaiting a misguided visitor’s head. However, some of the most coveted bagging tree stands are not in public places — a fact that often weighs heavily on minds of the most devious of brothers preceding room picks.

With any properly cultivated and maintained tradition as awesome as this, there are of course a few guidelines. Here are the rules we play by:

1. Bagging can only occur from SUN UP ’til SUN DOWN.

No exceptions here, although the coveted twilight bag is often a hot topic of debate.

2. You can only bag someone when they are entering the house, not when they are exiting the house.

Giving the prey ample opportunity to escape only leads to a more exhilarating hunt, this is pretty self-explanatory.

3. Let it be known that any property damaged in a bagging is the baggers responsibility; most electronics held in pockets will not be damaged by a standard bagging.

If you want to want to play the game, you’ve got to play fairly. I’ve only ever heard of one phone fatality, and it’s pretty common to get 15+ people on a good day, so there’s that.

4. Anyone trying to get into the house CANNOT hold a phone or another piece of electronics above their head to prevent a bagging. If this does occur, then the bagger is no longer held responsible for said electronics.

Do this if you want to get bagged.

5. Anything can be used for bagging, but water is the preferred option.

As with any steadfast tradition, rules remain unabridged, and this one creates an interesting loophole, but it’s a touchy subject. If a brother really had a vendetta against another, it usually resulted in a trashcan poured onto a bed, not slop onto a head. Pretty sure this is the stuff the old-timers used to pull, but for the sake of fun and hilarity, water is the preferred means these days.

6. Pledges can be bagged at any time, night or day.

Yeah, I completely lied when explaining rule number one. Pledges are always the exception.

7. Girls ARE fair game and highly encouraged.

The girls we spent our days with looked forward to Bagging Season just as much as we did. Whether it was scheming to get one of their sisters, or co-piloting plots to douse our entire exec board in a single day, it’s been proven that women appreciate this fine spring pastime just as much as us men. This said, so long as we let them partake in the revelry, they are also liable to get bagged at any time. Thanks, Title IX.

8. Random dudes that you fools bring to the house are also fair game.

Nothing better than bagging the shit out of another brother’s oblivious stoner friend as he’s rolling up to the house to “chill,” then having said brother explain to his infuriated friend that all is fair in fratting and bagging as you offer him a beer and tell him to “chill.”

9. Bonnie and Doc are NEVER, I REPEAT NEVER to be bagged under any circumstances.

There are very few people who garner respect around the house. These are two of them, for obvious reasons.

10. Any breaking of the rules is punishable by [redacted].

Well, I had to redact that one because I can’t give the entire tradition away, now can I? I’m pretty sure you guys are capable of coming up with something pretty clever to fill this void.

As expected, the bagging competition heats up as the weather gets nicer. In my years, it never failed to provide some great laughs, brotherhood camaraderie, and lighthearted bets responsible for some very memorable stories. Not to mention, it’s a great excuse to skip class on a beautiful day, grab some beers and have some good old-fashioned fun for the hell of it.

Here’s what a decent bagging looks like:

Happy Bagging Season, brothers.


Ashley Schaeffer is a senior contributing writer for Total Frat Move. If you thought he was a woman, he'll take that as a compliment, because he loves women. Wooh. He's proud to hold two degrees from Penn State, and certainly contributed to the university's reputable rankings in the party school category during his time there. He's even more proud to anchor the TFM News team. Feel free to hit up his pager or drop an email (SchaefferTFM@gmail.com) with any warranted leads, or just to shoot the breeze about Philly sports. In the meantime, drop by his dealership for great deals on gently used BMW's.

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