Thursday, March 31, 2011

Omega Psi "Why": 10 Things I Learned From Pledging

Psalm 133
1 Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! 2 It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron's beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments; 3 As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the LORD commanded the blessing, even life for evermore.

This is the first and only scripture that I learned while pledging Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. on the campus of Old Dominion University (Tau Lambda) in Norfolk, VA. I have decided to write an additional post concerning Christians and Fraternities/Sororities. My first post (May 10, 2010) received so much "buzz" on the web, that I was encouraged to continue writing on the subject.

This time, I wanted to share my personal testimony. What I will share, some will say (I shouldn't talk about, etc). But it's my story and I think many will benefit from it. Plus, I am an Ace, so you know I will challenge anyone regardless of what they think. That’s how we do it baby! At the end of the testimony, I will share 10 Things That I Learned From Pledging (Please don't forget to comment and follow my blog)

My Story

I went to Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA in the Fall of 1996. I was a Mechanical Engineering major and ready to "conquer the world". My first semester was incredible, college life was great, my grades were great and I was finally "on my own". Towards the end of the first semester/beginning of the Spring semester, I started seeing signs for fraternity interest meetings. 

Since I was in 8th grade, when I first saw the Ques from VA State University win a Nationally Televised Step Show, I have been determined to become a man of Omega Psi Phi. Every time I met a brother of Omega Psi Phi, I was impressed. It was something about those brothers. The way they carried themselves, their demeanor, their professionalism and of course, the ladies loved them. They emulated the type of brother that I wanted to be. When I saw the sign for their interest meeting, I attended. The meeting was held late fall. The meeting was interesting simply because I didn't know what to expect. I was still a freshman and had "no clue" of what it meant or what it took to be in a fraternity. 

Our initial process started around the second week of January 1997 (Spring of my freshman year). I had four other line brothers. After the first couple of days, I thought, this wasn't going to be too bad. Then, reality quickly set in. I remember when the "heat" was first turned up. We were in set (I was the Ace), and I couldn't remember anything, my line brother (I still don't know why to this day), "accidentally" wore red socks under his pants and we got "wrecked" all night long for about four hours. I just remember getting wood, more wood and grilled.

After that night, I realized that I had to make a choice of focusing on Chemistry or memorizing 37 pages of info to avoid getting wrecked. I chose the latter. By our 3/4 week, my five decided to drop. He gave us a reason, but you know how that goes. Everyone always have a good reason to drop (lol). The physical part (getting wood, slapped, etc) was the easiest part for me. It was the mental part that was the toughest. But we brought it every night. Some of the funnier things that I remember from being on line was:
                A Big Brother from Hampton University poured hot sauce down my underwear and placed some chicken bones in my pocket.
                We all had to eat an entire onion, including the core (I'm glad I was the Ace and didn't have to eat the core) and my Tre had an allergic reaction and started itching
                We had are pants ripped down to our underwear and had to sneak back into our dorms
                I had to pass a raw egg from my mouth to my deuce
                Make up stupid songs for our Dean/ADP

The night that will always stick with me is when we went to Norfolk State University. If chaos attended college, it would enroll at Norfolk State. We were in a room with our sayings (guys on line at Norfolk State). I think they had 7-9 guys and we had 4. Some of the things that happened that night:
                A Big Brother keep punching me in my right knee every 20 minutes until I finally collapsed.
                One Big Brother was hitting my quad so hard with thunder claps you thought he was trying to take his tattoo off (which is what he said)
                We were thrown through the closest and I can't remember what else
                It was about 40-50 brothers in there.
                All I can remember is that they had a long mahogany paddle that still hunts my but to this day. My honcho (Tre) was taking double sets (twice as much wood) and even took a couple in his underwear (I'm glad I wasn't the honcho that night). The funny thing is that when we visited the brothers at Hampton (It was a lot of big guys that played sports) they had a fiberglass paddle, but the wood was so weak that it almost made you laugh. HOWEVER, Norfolk State, knows how to bring it, because it felt like the paddle went through my lungs. One of our Delta Big Sisters would always say, “it’s going to get worse before it gets better-she wasn’t lying about that.”

My four LBs and I were tight, even when we met other brothers, we could spit the info without "wincing". We were about as tight as they come. Right before Spring Break, our Dean said, "ya'll boys almost done". When ya'll come back we are going to see some Deltas and that is about it"

That's were that story takes a turn for the worse. We had been online for about 10 weeks (a hard 10 weeks) and when we got back from spring break, tragedy had struck. Someone on line was killed in another state while pledging and the Fraternity as a hold, placed a moratorium on all intake processes.

This is the heartbreaker. We didn't have any of our paperwork in (Don't blame it on the alcohol-blame it on the Dean). However, my sayings at HU and NSU were good. Meaning, that the guys that I sweat blood and tears with were Ques and we were left hanging........I KNOW THAT SUCKS.. What's even worse, we were giving our Dean money (good sums of money) all throughout the process and we never saw anything. What was he doing, paying his rent?

Fast-forward a year and a half later. My deuce has moved back to NY, my Tre has moved on with his life and I have rededicated my life to Christ. When the door opened back up to finish, my Quad was the only one to go back and finish. I refused to go through that process from the beginning all over again. 

So where did that leave me-It left me in a place for several years of should I or should I not. That has always been the million-dollar question. But I am also reminded of a scripture that says, "

Romans 8:28 (King James Version): And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose."

But Job said it best in Job 13:15-"Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him..."

In 2001, I connected with 6 other gentleman and decided to create a Christian Fraternity. I essentially, removed the hazing and implemented a more Christian foundation into the process that I went through while pledging Omega.

I never thought that I would go from wanting to be a Que to starting my own Fraternity-but that's the way God works sometimes. You never know what he has in story.

10 Things I Learned From Pledging

1) Make sure that your process is official and sanctioned by the organization. Don't end up an eternal lamp!

2) If a brother hazes you, but doesn't teach you anything, he is a bad brother and/or CAT (Paper-didn't pledge)

3) Always, listen to your Dean and know his voice. The Bible talks about the sheep knowing God's voice. You have to know that your Dean is the most important person in the room.

4) Learn all of your information by the second week and spend the rest of the process getting tight.

5) Always have a few jokes or skits, to keep brothers entertained.

6) Don't show up to see brothers without (chicken and brew).

7) There is no correct answer to, "Why do you want to be in this fraternity?"

8) Don't get wood from Norfolk State

9) If you turn down on a street and you see nothing but Omega Psi Phi license plates on the cars, turn around and go home. DO NOT GO INTO THE HOUSE (You will pay for it, but you will thank me later).

10) A chain is only strong as it's weakest link. I was a tight Ace (no one can argue that) and my LBs held it down.

My Final Thoughts
Do I think it was God's will for that to happen to me? Well, that answer is about the only answer that gives me peace. Could I have gone back at another time, yes, but did I feel peace about doing that, no. I can't explain why some things happen, but I can share this story to others to build my case for Christians and Fraternities/Sororities. Always ask yourself, is this God's will or my will. I'm I extreme, saying that you can't be a Christian and a Que,etc. Absolutely NOT! What I am saying is to make sure that God is in your decision. Don't get lost in the colors, in being legacy, or watching a probate saying to yourself, "I can't wait till I become a ...."

Choices, my friends, it's all about choices. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. I used to want to bleed Purple and Gold, but now I focus more on the Purple robe that Jesus wore and the Crown up on his head. From the steps of Thirkield Hall to the Altar of the Church, God is now my light, and the blood of Jesus is in my veins in place of Purple and Gold. I recognize that I am only facing what other men have met, but I have decided to "See It Through" with a Christian approach. I know you say, it was founded with a Christian foundation, etc....Trust me, I had to learn that stuff, so I know. My rebuttal, so was America! But oh, how far have our country shifted!

I still believe in the principles of Manhood, Scholarship, Perseverance and Uplift, but now I'm teaching men those principles without beating them to death.

I encourage you to make the right choice and make sure your choices are always in line with God's vision. Take it from someone that learned the hard way.