Fifteen Minutes: Avoiding Alcohol at Sigma Chi

All eyes are on the ping pong ball. As it ricochets off the paddle and hurtles through the air, the

All eyes are on the ping pong ball. As it ricochets off the paddle and hurtles through the air, the anticipation heightens. Suddenly, the hushed silence is shattered as the little, white ball plops into the cup, splashing some of the contents onto the table. Cheers erupt, and the frat brothers of Sigma Chi chant iDrink! Drink! Drink!i But unlike the other players, Jason P. Brinton e00-i02 isnit worried about his play getting sloppy. His cups arenit filled with beer-theyire foaming with Sprite. Brinton calmly lifts the cup to his mouth and pounds it like a champ.

The name of the game is beer pong, which features two players, each trying to hit a ping pong ball into his opponentis cup. If a ball lands in the beer, the loser has to chug as fast as humanly possible. Generally, once a player starts drinking, his coordination suffers all the more, and he just keeps right on losing. But Brinton actually gets better as play continues.

Brintonis choice to engage in iSprite pongi rather than beer pong is strictly a matter of principle. A Sigma Chi fraternity brother and president of the Harvard Republican Club, Brinton is Mormon, a religion that forbids drinking alcohol or caffeine. So Sprite is pretty much all thatis kosher. When asked whether that gives him an unfair leg up on his adversaries, Brinton replies, iOf course it does. It does give me an advantage. Itis kind of cool.i

Sigma Chi does not conform to the stereotype of fraternities as little more than venues for drunken revelry, Brinton points out. The organization isnit about drinking, he declares-itis about istrong bonds of true friendship and brotherhood.i Asked about his take on the Sprite pong situation, Sigma Chi brother Michael G. Housman e02 answers, iIim proud of him for not succumbing to peer pressure. I donit think it hinders his being part of the group...itis about building brotherhood, whether or not he wants to drink.i

Without a beer in his fist, Brinton stands out among his peers. But heis still just one of the guys. And Brinton brags his choice of beverage doesnit hinder his social life in the least. In fact, he boasts, iYeah, it goes over pretty well [with the ladies].i

oPeter A. Steciuk