Tide Hop, Oct. 1981

Tide Hop, Oct. 1981

Photo Illustration / Kylie Cowden

Rebecca Rakowitz

It’s that time of the week, again! For this week’s throwback, Tide Hop we will take a look at The University of Alabama in 1981 through the lens of the Oct. 19 and 21 issues of  The Crimson White.

They sore losers ‘cuz they’re not Alabama: The front page of the 1981 Monday issue following the third Saturday in October proudly reminded the student body of the Tide’s victory over Tennessee that weekend, just as it did in 2016. 

“The Alabama Crimson Tide beat the Tennessee Volunteers 38-19 in Birmingham Saturday afternoon in front of 78,550 people, making it the 11th straight time in a string of victories that started in 1971,” the article read.

It went on to say that cigars were brought out in the Tide dressing room following the win, just as they were following the Tide’s 49-10 victory over the Vols in Neyland Stadium this past Saturday.

The 1981 Tide was led by first-time starting quarterback Alan Gray who scored 28 points in the first half. Following the win, Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant described Gray as an “outstanding” young man who played “beautifully.”

“We played a real fine first half,” Bryant said. “That’s about as well as we can play,” though he later said the team has to work on its fourth quarter game.

“I know one thing we’re going to do [to fix it],” Bryant said. “We’re going to start working harder late in practice.”

Where [Party] Legends Were Made: Below the story of the Tide’s victory over Tennessee, ran a story of two business partners, researchers and eventual writers who were searching the country for the nation’s “top partying college.”

“After stops at 14 different schools, two men conducting a study on college drinking have called Alabama the biggest ‘party’ campus in the nation so far on their U.S. tour,” the article said.

The two men, Hal Chapman and Tom Weatherly planned to write a party book using the information they collected. They described the book as a social profile of academic universities and said they were looking for things that set Alabama social life apart from the rest.

“Chapman said the most curious characteristic of Alabama partiers is their high energy level. ‘People are serious about their parties here,’ he said. ‘It’s very important to them…Alabama is definitely first so far, with LSU running a close second.’”

The two men found that on most campuses Delta Kappa Epsilons are known for their parties, but at Alabama “it seems to be the Phi Delts.” They also found that swaps between fraternities and sororities are more pronounced and “often more forceful” at UA than at other schools.

Through questionnaires, surveys and personal observation at each school, Chapman and Weatherly were able to find strange parties, recalling that a fraternity at UA has members climb into a horse trough and slide down the stairs into empty kegs at their parties.

They also found interesting geographical patterns, noting that partying is different in different areas of the country.

“People here party almost every night of the week and they have such a friendly, outgoing attitude,” Chapman told the CW. “I guess the South has a tradition to uphold.”

How to keep the title: In the next issue of the CW, the paper’s state editor, Barry Woodham wrote a satirical editorial in which he compelled the student body to uphold their unofficial ranking as the top party school in the country by making the “bookworms” party as well.

Woodham asked why the bookworms aren’t out at night contributing to the cause, conceding that the student body would never secure it’s spot as the top partiers in the nation if they let “these people” (the bookworms) continue to operate.

“So what are we going to do?” Woodham asked. “Are we going to let our title as ‘The Best Drinkers in the Nation’ follow the path of our football titles we once held and the academic titles we never held? No way. We have to do something and I have a plan.”

One of Woodham’s suggestions was to implement voluntary beer drinking periods in elementary schools that could happen right after voluntary prayer, so that way “we wouldn’t have to convert non-drinkers when they come to college.”

Taking a tip from the “Bear Bryant Show” which heavily emphasized the importance of recruiting, Woodham also suggested a “massive publicity blitz” to bring heavy drinkers to the University.

“Why not have pictures of all the town bars [in brochures] and feature stories on the guy that drank 21 cases of beer before his calculus final?” Woodham asked. “We could take it even farther…The Crimson White could replace People, Places and Things with Plastered People, Party Places and Things to do While You’re Drunk.”

Woodham eventually suggested non-partiers who were “damaging [UA’s] reputation” be intimidated to drink or removed from campus through violence, as it is too easy to just expel those “not representing the true spirit of the Crimson Tide.”

“Come on students, let’s face it. The football team will always be right up there at the top, and academic life will possibly become great one day, but right now we are number one in only one thing; drinking to excess,” Woodham said. “We are going to have to work hard to keep our rightful place.”