Ok. I am really excited! I am going to get a paddle…finally, for myself(kind of). I have wanted to be gifted with a paddle for a long time now, but at the age of 54, with no sorority affiliation, I could see that it wasn’t likely. I first started coveting sorority paddles 4 years ago when my husband and I purchased a small sporting goods store(Sport About) close to the CSU campus in Fort Collins, CO. I was a little confused by the corner of the store that displayed decals, glassware, key chains, jewelry, etc. for the local sororities and fraternities. I was even more perplexed by the wall of wooden paddles and peel and stick letters. Our sporting goods store came with this built-in clientelle of greek affiliated students that we really knew nothing about. Just learning the Greek alphabet was a challenge. I still get lambdas and gammas mixed up if I don’t think about it.
Back to the paddles…we were selling dozens of them, along with letters and numbers and symbols. I didn’t think much about it until a girl walked in with her finished paddle. I was amazed! It was beautiful! It was painted a shiny black with silver and baby blue accents. It had her greek letters along with the year, the names of the giver and recipient, a lovely quote…all embellished with rhinestones and ribbons. I had no idea that these pieces of raw wood leaving the store were being transformed in this way.
Since that discovery there has been no tempering my curiosity every time a girl buys paddle supplies. “Who is it for? How are you going to decorate it? What is the theme?” They are all so sweet and patient with the nosy lady at the greek store and are always willing to give me a rundown on their artistic plans. I started seeing more paddles…mostly in picture form that girls would collect for me. I began learning about the different paddle traditions with each group. Some groups decorate wooden keys or kites or heart-shapes instead of paddles and they turn out great also. But nobody ever made me a paddle. Hmmm…imagine that.
So, I decided to hold a paddle contest! I handed out paddle supplies to a representative of each of the local 9 sororities at the last Panhellenic meeting. Rules are simple: use the paddle and letters that I provided, along with any other materials, to best represent your sorority. Prizes are simple: $50 to the philanthropy of choice for the winning paddle and $50 gift certificate to Sport About for the runner up. Paddles will be judged by CSU president Tony Frank on creativity and content. And best of all…paddles will be mine, all mine when they are done! Actually they will be displayed and enjoyed here at Sport About till next year’s contest at which time they will be given back to the sororities. After all I will have a new set by then:)