Football players welcomed to fraternity life

From C-A-N-E-S to P-I-K-E-S. Chris Myers, Eric Winston, and Joel Rodriguez have opted to widen their horizons and add another element to their college experience: Greek life in the Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity.

Between the times spent together for games, practices, meetings, and workouts, an everlasting unspoken bond is formed within a football team. However, football player or not, the curiosity of a typical college student prevails sometimes.

“Pledging Pike is an opportunity for us to try something new,” Rodriguez said. “Chris and I been here for four years, and have been occupied with football. Even though we go out and mingle with others in The Grove, it’ll be nice to see what the other side of college life has to offer.”

“For football, the silent agreement is that anyone has anyone’s back,” Myers said. “We’ll do anything for each other, like brothers. Pike is the same way.”

In each of the last four seasons, the Hurricanes’ offensive line has produced one or more first-team All-Americans. Myers, a senior, is a returning starter for the ‘Canes at right guard. Rodriguez, also a senior, will be starting at center this season. Winston, a junior, moved up to 290 lbs. to start on the offensive line.

As important parts of the offense, one must wonder if they have time for anything but football. With regulation under the appropriate supervision, they are able to balance their schedule.

“There are the athletes, the regular students, and Greek life,” Myers said. “Everyone interacts when they go out, but for the most part each group stays to themselves. I just thought this would be something new to try while I’m still in college, something I won’t be able to experience when I leave.”

The mission statement of Pi Kappa Alpha states, “We believe in the importance of virtue and commit to living the values of the Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity. We recognize that truth is the foundation of all lasting association, and we will seek wisdom and knowledge while serving others in modesty and dignity.”

In some ways, there are many similarities between the camaraderie of a football team and the bonds of brotherhood. In different forms, both organizations push the members to be strong in mind and body. Some students, when beginning at a university, are tempted to explore Greek life. Winston, Rodriguez, and Myers chose another path at first, but were not close-minded to the option when it surfaced.

“Eric is two years younger than Joel and I,” Myers said. “So he’s still trying out new things. We are probably the closest with him on the team, and he told us he was thinking about pledging. One of the equipment managers is actually the president of Pike, so he approached us with the offer. We talked about it, and met with some of the guys in the fraternity. They just seemed pretty cool so we thought, why not?”

“Pledging is normally very time consuming,” Rodriguez said, “but it helped that the president is involved with our team, as well as understands the fact that football comes first. We don’t have as much time as the typical student has to pledge, so they took that into consideration.”

The guys seem to be getting the best of both worlds. They do not need to sacrifice what they love – football – yet are offered the chance to meet new people and balance a new social experience into their schedules.

“I never thought I’d have the time,” Myers said. “Then I realized I can work it into my schedule. Basically we’ve already experienced a lot in college. My sister is in a sorority, and Greek life is just something I haven’t experienced. Maybe we will meet people that we will know for the rest of our lives, or people that can help us down the road.”

“Some of the guys on the team were shocked that we decided to do this,” Myers said. “Hopefully we are opening new doors for the team at the same time. We get a few wise cracks because it’s just out of the ordinary. It is something new and exciting for all three of us that we are all looking forward to.” I