You see them at the bar. You see them at the mandatory anti-hazing rallies administration makes you suffer through. They’re your peers. Your neighbors. Your classmates. You might even shake their hand as you pass them by day. But after a few drinks, or on the field or court, they’re your worst fucking enemies.
While sororities find a way to retract their claws and hold hands under the “Panhellenic Love” rainbow (you’re not fooling anyone, we know how you really feel about each other), inter-fraternal relations take a far different route. We don’t resort to passive-aggressive cattiness or pretend to like each other in person. We don’t necessarily start fraternal brawls every chance we get either, but if a time comes when we must defend our house’s name, we do what we damn well have to.
What else could explain the ferocity behind a simple game of basketball or flag football? When it comes to fraternity vs. fraternity, formalities are left at the door and it becomes personal. Any blown call is bound to light a firestorm of competitive fury that can only be quelled by threat of disciplinary action.
Neighboring houses pose even more of a threat. After a night of reckless blackout insanity, any brother with a testosterone overload (read: brother who needs to get laid) is bound to start a conflict. The boundary between your houses becomes elevated to Berlin Wall status. Add shit-talking residents of the enemy house into the mix and you’ve lit the proverbial fuse. As one of my personal favorite TFM’s says, “Yes, there are guys in my chapter I don’t like. And yes, I will knock your ass out if you talk shit about them.”
Sexual frustration evolves into psychotic rage and suddenly all those scattered empty liquor bottles become dangerous WFD’s (Weapons of Frat Destruction). I’ve seen the way a bottle shatters on an opposing house, and let me tell you, it can be pretty damn satisfying. They had it coming.
When the smoke clears and the damage is done (and after a stern talking-to from the risk manager) most scuffles taper off as quick as they started. If you have a black eye the next morning, you probably deserved it. Your hangover mixes with house pride, and though you may have made an ass of yourself at least you did it defending your letters.
As you walk down the stairs the next morning you’re greeted by high fives and shouts of “Way to show those assholes,” and suddenly it all seems worth it.
There’s always going to be tension, but we as fraternal gentlemen have the balls to move on and not hold (too many) grudges. The next day we all manage to coexist in our sobriety. We respectfully contain any skirmishes to the after dark hours. I admit, it’s a strange system, but at least we’re better than the sorostitutes.