Beer and other beverages
Students explore alternative ring dunk options
Published: Friday, March 30, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 19:07
Some students prefer a pitcher of Shiner Bock while others like the lighter, but always smooth, Keystone Light for their Aggie Ring Dunk. But since drowning that golden symbol of history and accomplishment in a pitcher of ale became an unofficial tradition, students have explored alternative beverages to chug — some more edible than drinkable.
“I enjoy pho,” junior entomology major Van Tran said.
Tran and some of his friends plan to dunk their rings in pho, a kind of noodle soup originating from Vietnam.
“You can find new ways to do the same old thing. The actual dunk doesn’t matter,” Tran said. “You’re really there because of the friends.”
The tradition of ring dunking is less conventional than many that the A&M student body enjoys. In fact, it was an accident. In the late 1970s, a student who had recently received his ring accidentally dropped it into a 32-ounce pitcher of beer at the Dixie Chicken. He had no choice but to empty the pitcher before adorning the gold. By the 1980s, the practice evolved into students timing each other to see how quickly a pitcher of beer could be chugged. This added an element of challenge, forcing students to drink large quantities of beer in less than a minute, or, for the most experienced dunkers in less than 30 seconds.
Students who choose to not dunk their ring in alcohol often do so because of a desire to avoid potential health risks, or at least post-chug vomiting.
“I want to dunk my ring in something I can drink fast without having to be concerned about [after] effects,” said Sharon Mika, junior English major. “It would ruin my night to drink a pitcher of beer or something alcoholic, and then have to throw up.”
A dislike for the taste of beer is another reason students choose alternative beverages.
“I chose not to dunk in beer because I’m not a huge fan,” said Kelsey Witt, senior genetics major.
Some students opt for non-alcoholic options like juice, tea or various soft drinks. Most still chug their non-alcoholic drinks, usually from a standard 32-ounce pitcher, but usually don’t need to fret the after effects or feeling sick.
“I dunked in sweet tea, and some of my other friends have dunked in cranberry juice, root beer, wine coolers and Dr. Pepper,” Witt said.
Alternative ring dunks are also a way for students to express their lifestyle.
“I think taking care of yourself and being true to yourself is more important than doing something just because other people are doing it,” Mika said.
Whether in beer, sweet tea, a favorite ice cream or even a pitcher of soup, a ring dunk remains a ring dunk. For an unofficial tradition, dunking has come a long way from the accidental occurrence at the Dixie Chicken more than 30 years ago.
“Ring dunks are pretty common — most of my friends had them,” Witt said. “It’s just a nice way to get together with friends and celebrate an awesome achievement as an Aggie.”