by Otto Ringle
Did you ever do something in your past and years later think back just how stupid it was for you to do it? Without question, the most stupid thing I ever did during my 91 years was 70 years ago!
There is a reason for me wanting to tell you about it, and the reason is, before you do something you think might be a foolish thing to do — take a deep breath — and think about it very seriously before you do it!
Before I tell you what we did, I would like to tell you why I was inspired to include it in this week’s The Old and the New column. This summer our Carleton College Class of 1953 is having its 70th reunion. Throughout those 70 years, I have been going to other class reunions and more and more, as the years go by, we discover many of our classmates have passed away, we have forgotten about many that we didn’t know very well in the first place, or because we didn’t have much to do with those who were in our class.
In my case, very unfortunately, the latter rears its ugly head! I am very sorry to say, our football team didn’t have much to do with our other classmates. We came to the campus before the others came to begin our football practices. We had a different schedule because football practice was twice a day. We ate our meals at different tables and had a special high-protein diet than the others.
When we were on the road for an away game, oftentimes it was more than just the Saturday of the game, as we were in the Midwest Conference, playing teams like Knox College and Monmouth College as far away as Illinois and often stayed overnight. In my case anyway, because I wasn’t that good a student at old WHS, I spent most of my time studying and didn’t take in many of the social activities. Oh, I did OK in the math and sciences at WHS, but English and history were my downfalls. I think I told you I had to take a course called, “Bonehead English” just to get into Carleton in the first place!
So, let’s get back to “Stupid Is, Stupid Does!” In the early 1950s, “Panty Raids” were very popular throughout the country. In 1952, an unplanned University of Michigan raid started after shouting matches between competing men’s dorm rooms, which evolved into an outdoor shouting match with men from several dorms playing and taunting each other. Police were called to quiet down the dorm residents, but the students refused to disperse and instead, they began making their way toward the women’s dorms.
Other raids followed all across the country. Two thousand men raided the women’s dorms at Penn State while the women cheered and threw underwear from the windows to the crowd below. By the end of 1952, the panty raid epidemic had spread to 52 campuses across the country.
There were many theories behind the reason for the panty raid epidemic. Panty raids served as a protest against curfews and entry restrictions that barred male visitors from women’s dorms. These policies were particularly influential, given that colleges had started admitting women in large numbers for the first time after WWII.
The football team at Carleton College decided they wanted to get into the act when the entire team raided the St. Olaf women’s dorms in the quest for the questionable trophies!
The next day at practice, Dean Jarcow came into our locker room and said, “You guys are playing for the possibility of becoming champions of the Midwest Conference tomorrow against Knox. Why in the world would you do such a stupid thing as raid the girl’s dorm at St. Olaf? Do you realize this is reason enough for me to have you all expelled? Is a girl’s panty more important to you than a trophy for the Conference Championship?”
Coach Haas waited for Dean Jarcow’s decision with bated breath, as he wanted to beat Knox as badly as we did. The rest of us didn’t say a word, we just sat there with guilty looks on our faces. After what seemed like a lifetime of silence, Dean Jarcow finally said, “You know what guys? If I were in your shoes, I would have done the same thing! Now go out there tomorrow and knock the socks off of Knox!”
The score of the game the following Saturday was Carleton 7, Knox 14. We didn’t win the Conference Championship Trophy, but we won the panties of the girls from St. Olaf! Stupid is, stupid does!
The views and opinions expressed in the “The old and the new” column belong solely to the author, and not The Pilot-Independent or an organization, committee or individual.
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