Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Wednesday T-Book Tutorings

It's the Dead Time. It's the period of the season where people become desperate to talk about anything regarding college football in the slightest. For instance, ScalpEm and Tomahawk Nation complain about their football players getting arrested and stealing parking boots, Block-C worries about Clemson selling itself for US News Rankings, cgb posts just random crap all week, and over at Gobbler Country, F4H frets about what to title his link entries. Probably the most productive of the group has been Brian from BC Interruption. Instead of racking his brain trying to write about something, he decided to get married. Talk about good timing.

Yes, it's the dead period. But we shall all survive.

Something that will hopefully become a staple every Wednesday during this slow, hot summer is what I'll call (for now) "T-Book Tutorings". It will be an entry where I'll post a passage from the 2008-2009 Georgia Tech T-Book. The T-Book is the ultimate guide to the history, spirit and traditions of the Institute. It is primarily geared towards freshmen but all are encouraged to obtain a copy. These entries will also be in anticipation of the publishing of the 2009-2010 version of the Book, set to come out just as the freshmen arrive on campus in August.

This week's entry discusses how to steal the "T" off Tech Tower:

Tech Tower has been a defining symbol of the Institute since it was built in 1888. The infamous, five foot tall “TECH” signs were added to the tower by the class of 1922 during their freshman year in order to “light the spirit of Tech to the four points of the compass.” The practice of stealing the ‘T’ began in 1969. A group of students calling themselves “The Magnificent Seven” stole the ‘T’ in honor of Georgia Tech President Edwin D. Harrison’s retirement.

The ‘T’ has been removed from Tech Tower enough times that there is now a traditional way to do it. The ‘T’ on the East side of the tower should be taken first because it faces I-75/I-85. If the first ‘T’ is gone, one should continue around the tower in clockwise fashion; after all the ‘T’s have been captured the ‘H’s come next followed by the ‘E’s and finally the ‘C’s. After successfully stealing the ‘T,’ students traditionally returned it to the president. However, fear of punishment has caused more recent thieves to keep the ‘T’ as a souvenir of their achievement.

Over the years, Georgia Tech leadership has had differing opinions regarding the stealing of the ‘T’. Sometimes the practice was overlooked and at one time even endorsed as “among the all-time greatest rituals.” Now, however, it is strictly forbidden due to safety and liability concerns. High-tech security features such as pressure-sensitive roof tiling, fiber optic cables, and an audible alarm have been added to the “TECH” sign in order to discourage its theft. No one can blame a person for concocting a plan “so that he would have what every Tech man needed, his own glowing yellow T for a conversation piece.”

Unfortunately, students are not encouraged to steal the "T" off Tech Tower anymore. But that does not hinder anyone from stealing T's off any other building or sign around campus. It's not vandalism. It's tradition!

Any thoughts or stories about how you valiantly tried to steal the T or complete some other Tech tradition are welcome.