The "Grease Pole" is a holy totem of the engineers of Queen's University, in Kingston, Ontario. The original grease pole was a goal post that was righteously stolen from the University of Toronto in a drunken rush-the-football-field frenzy. The pole has since been used in a frosh week team building activity: It is coated with lanolin, and a hat (a tam) is put on it. The new engineers must retrieve the hat, using teamwork. Sometimes this takes all day.

After frosh week, the pole is stored by the frosh in a safe and secret place. The pole has been stolen before, by upper classmen, and the ransom for its return was a very large number of cases of beer. It was returned.

In the fall of 2000, however, the ultimate humiliation was visited upon the frosh. Not only was the pole stolen, it was stolen by engineers from the University of Toronto who detailed the exploits on a web page ( Bad Frosh!
I give you the story of how the Pole was recaptured by a wily group of Queen's Engineer's that came to be known as the 'Dirty Thirty' (as written by yours truly, a member thereof)

January 19,2001


Harmony Restored to the Universe

Few things are as sacred to a Queen's Engineer as the hallowed Grease Pole. This 24-foot monument unites us and inspires the best in us. Why do we place so much importance in our Pole? Well, it's tough to explain, but it has a lot do with history -- a history that is well documented and passed down from year to year in Pole Lore.

On September 9th 2000 a group of spirited geeks from UofT (apparently a handful of them DO have spirit) managed to infiltrate the Grease Pole event by defeating several layers of state-of-the-art security systems. Then, while our heavily armed guards were off negotiating the purchase of some frothy beverages, the UofT egg-heads walked away with our revered Pole. Kudos to the Brute Force Committee (BFC) for taking advantage of the crack team of appointed pole-hiders (picked at random at a Backstreet Boys look-alike contest).

In the ensuing weeks, strong feelings were expressed by the Queen's Engineers about the disappearance of the Pole. Indeed, the loss of our Symbol stung. Threats from the Queen's Administration subdued hostile intentions that were aimed at UofT (all plans to burn, pillage and destroy were cancelled immediately). One group however, lurked in the underground, acting independently from the Engineering Society. This rogue group (including one "Film" student) scoured the Internet for information concerning the members of the BFC, analyzed photographs for clues, and even launched a reconnaissance mission. This October recon mission involved one 26-foot squid-mobile, 2 special ops groups, 1 spy satellite*, wireless (and at times powerless) communications, a ton of 'borrowed' gear from Canadian Tire, topographical maps and 1 trained monkey bearing a striking resemblance to Sally Struthers.** After spending the night combing acres of forest, crawling through mounds of onions, being chased by man-eating guard dogs, searching many-a-backyard of suspected BFC brass, and after visiting Mr. and Mrs. Barry Davis and their gremlin son (Note: Special thanks to ADCO courier for directions right to their front door). Alas, the group came up empty handed. Despite the lack of results, this mission (Operation Fetus) was important in honing our unit into a finely tuned pole-stealing machine. Unphased, the clandestine group continued their research. Many alternate plans were discussed. A party of 100 kegs, music, and purpled engineers was proposed, aiming to drink UofT into submission. Another plan involved the creation of a female “Grease Hole”, designed to lure the male Grease Pole out of hiding. Luckily for UofT, intelligence arrived informing us that our monument was on display in the Sanford Fleming building, just hours before our rival’s campus was to experience the wrath of our fire-bombing campaign.

The underground group at Queen's realized this was opportunity not to be missed, and immediately put into action Offensive Initiative Zeta-Nine. An advance team was sent to the site to confirm the authenticity of the target. Green light was given, and the main strike force was called in. Worst-case planning necessitated the inclusion of bolt-cutters, an industrial strength grinder, a crowbar and other B&E tools of choice. The expanded group (later to be known as the 'Dirty Thirty') met at an inconspicuous downtown parking lot, and to throw off the Heat, pretended to be negotiating the transfer of a large amount of illicit narcotics.

The ruse worked, and the cops never suspected a thing. After only an hour of hood-of-the-car planning, we had decided on exact mission tactics. Using a secret “locked” side-door, we penetrated Sanford Fleming in stealth mode, having designated teams to over-power and subdue any potential guards and/or onlookers. For 3:00 AM, the building was surprisingly empty. Thankfully, the late-night sessions of the Lara Croft Fan Club were not until the following night. Though the emptiness was somewhat eerie, the sight of our man cutting through the six braided steel restraining cables was a beautiful sight to behold. Our pole was free! From there on in, the crew worked like (greased) lightning to bring the Pole down and position it in front of an exit. Research (thanks to the UofT Accessibility Task Force) indicated that we might encounter difficulty getting the pole through the doors (the old “pole base larger than doorway clearance” problem), something we were prepared to handle however (enter power grinder, stage right). Thus everything seemed to be going according to plan, but like all plans, there's a monkey wrench lurking somewhere. Team Discovery Channel encountered serious difficulties keeping the electrically powered grinder going, as it battled the strength of Grease Pole Steel. UofT's shoddy wiring could not handle the massive power demands of our tool, resulting in many blown fuses. The glowing red sparks shooting from the floor to the ceiling was quite a sight, however, and attracted some attention, as a couple of UofT engineers arrived on the scene. They tried to run for reinforcements, but folded under numbers. Apparently, hot sparks and ceiling tiles do not mix very well, as smoke quickly filled the air. "Fire, shmire" we said, and pressed on unabated by the looming danger. Sanford Fleming burning down (again), was not going to stand in the way of us and our Pole. We finally cut one leg off, and managed to maneuver the pole out an alternate doorway. Expecting at least some sort of resistance, several teams were positioned in vehicles outside, strategically clogging the downtown arteries of College and St. George. The pole was loaded into the truck and max afterburners engaged as the convoy left swiftly through easy escape paths. At the generous request of our (devastated, but class-act) rivals, a good chunk of our crew stayed back to partake in free pints at Suds. A good showing of gentlemanly sportsmanship from both sides.

January 18th 2001 (at approximately 8:00am), the Homeward Bound team triumphantly rolled into Kingston, and displayed the Pole at Stauffer Library for all to behold, marking the inaugural celebration of International Pole Day. One more appearance at Clark Hall at Ritual the following day, and the pole was on its way to its final resting destination. Possible locations being considered are the Marianas Trench, low Earth orbit, Cuba, Fort Knox, right alongside Jimmy Hoffa, and the impenetrable Coastal Engineering lab on West Campus.

In conclusion, this year the Queen's/UofT rivalry took some unexpected turns, and in doing so, rekindled a long lost fire of good-natured fun and competition. We believe engineering spirit was promoted at both schools, and we welcome further engagements (be them joint or otherwise).


The Dirty Thirty

* Complete lie ** Also a complete lie.

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