A legacy to treasure
Wildcat File Photo
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Scott Andrew Shulz
Records are meant to be broken, traditions are not.
Last week, Mark McGwire made history when he crushed his 62nd home run over the left field wall in St. Louis and, in doing so, topped Roger Maris as the greatest single-season home run hitter of all time. Quite a feat when you think about it.
But, this is a classic example of a record begging to be surpassed. Sammy Sosa of the Chicago Cubs was right on McGwire's heels and at the time of this composition had just accumulated 62 homers to tie. Some of us are hoping Sammy can take home the gold and, again, a new record would be set.
On the opposite end lies tradition, and the UA is rich in it. Look all around you. The fountain in front of Old Main has been a famous tool for initiating students, and Homecoming has always welcomed the mesmerizing effects of a giant bonfire.
Likewise, 1929 saw the beginning of Family Weekend, which takes place Oct. 10 this year. And the list continues.
"Bear Down" echoed through campus in 1926 and we do not hesitate to hold one of various "Beat Tempe" rallies during late November. There is the Pride of Arizona and that loving couple, Wilbur and Wilma Wildcat, who entertain us with their antics at sporting events.
Traditions have left us as well. From 1916 to the mid 1950s, freshmen were required to wear green the first two weeks of class. Men wore atop their heads a "green beanie" as it was called. This was part of a light-hearted atmosphere that made it much easier to pick on the youngest members of the UA community.
While traditions may come and go, they set institutions apart from one another and exemplify their unique characteristics. If every school had identical celebrations and events, who could tell the difference between them?
Activities such as the "naked mile," ironically found at many schools with much cooler climates than the UA, bring smiles to our faces and remind us that college is not always about crawling through the pages of a never-ending history book.
Another event, Spring Fling, takes place here and only here. This carnival has come to be known as one of the largest collegiate parties put on by students anywhere. Spring Fling has also brought the UA national attention.
Where else can you yell "Bear Down" and be understood? Where else does "meet me at the Mall" have nothing to do with shopping? These phrases are unique to the UA and help separate our university from others, such as ASU.
Well, that and the fact that our students are actually housebroken.
This weekend we have the opportunity to commemorate an anniversary unlike any other. It is a tradition born out of pride in 1915 and has now remained for 83 years. At the time of its inception, the students of the UA were so caught up in the emotion and attention of having a winning football team that they set out to construct a letter "A" high atop Centennial Peak Hill.
The students spent week after week, a total of fourteen Saturdays, digging trenches for the
placement of giant boulders which would come together to form a symbol of pride for the UA and the city of Tucson.
From then on, a group of freshmen has gathered each and every year to conquer "A" Mountain and restore the monument with a fresh coat of paint so that all of southern Arizona can be proud of the tradition of excellence the UA exemplifies.
Your chance to be a part of history comes this Saturday. You can sleep in like most and awaken late with nothing to show for the morning hours that have passed, never to return. Or, you can reward yourself by cheering on and supporting those fellow UA students who have the courage and the motivation to collect memories of their short college years at the UA and join hundreds of others who have done the same since 1915.
Your time at the UA will come and go, but the traditions you continue are engraved forever.
Scott Andrew Schulz is a communications junior. His column, Millstone, appears every Wednesday and he can be reached via e-mail at Scott.Andrew.Schulz@wildcat.arizona.edu.