The Quest for the GreasePole
So the Queens Engineers came into possession of this lovely steel Pole (check out
the History of the Pole to find out how). It was cool, rather large and seemed like a
great thing to get their Frosh to climb and afterwards they left it to the Frosh to take
care of it until the next year it was needed. There was just one problem: since our
Greasepole Event was and remains the envy of the entire University, if not the world,
there may be others interested in stealing it
Who would do such a thing?
Commerce students, ArtSci students, Upper Year Engineers, U of T
students all have an eye for the glory, even the staff of Golden Words stole it once. Over
the years a wide range of groups have tried or successfully stolen the Pole. It seems when
you are a Frosh Year, you cant trust anyone, sometimes not even your own peers.
Yup, it is a big free-for-all, occasionally with more than one group trying to steal
the Pole at the same time. The Engineers from the University of Toronto have always
remained hopeful to retrieve what they see as their property. They seem irate that we have
temporarily borrowed their goalpost (by "borrowed", I mean ripped out of solid
concrete, carried off and put on a train and by "temporary", I mean until we
steal another one). From several accounts it is still written in the U of T Frosh Primer
that we have their Pole and they must get it back. Although they were reported to be
wandering around firing off their cannon (fetch Frosh, fetch) and tying up EngSoc exec
members, a couple years back, they have not, in truth, mounted a serious attempt in many
The biggest threat though, beyond a doubt, is the Upper Years, who know how the event
runs, how to trick silly Frosh and who have a desire for the large ransom that can be
requested for the return. And unlike Mel Gibson, the Frosh have to pay or risk not having
a Pole for their Frosh to climb.
Obviously though, no harm has come to the Pole we are still climbing it and it
is still (or back) in one piece.
How have these groups, cool and lame, tried to steal our Pole?
Since the Pole was itself a product of a nefarious "borrowing", it seems
natural that right from the start people have been trying to steal it. From some reports,
Western stole one of the two goalposts we liberated within a week of our original theft
way back in 55. The Journal quotes the perpetrators as claiming, "in the
driving rain and under the bloodshot eyes of 2000 celebrating Queens students,"
they "relieved Queens of the oversized piece of plumbing and put it on a train
for London." They then expressed it, anonymously and collect, to the Globe &
Mail, somewhat worse for wear after its week in Kingston.
Fast forwarding past years of little information to the last couple decades, there are
numerous stories of great hunts, devious schemes and daring tactics. From airplanes to GPS
tracking devices, from CBs to the CLUB, everything has been used to sequester the steel
It seems the Upper Years used to let the Frosh go ahead and hide it, and then used all
manners of trickery and treachery to determine its location. In more recent years, the
Upper Years have typically chased the Pole truck itself in hopes of preventing the Frosh
from hiding the Pole at all or at least taking a tariff for the safe passage. As one can
imaging, chasing the Frosh with their hard-won and climbed Pole has not always, lets
say, followed proper traffic procedures and is no longer an allowed method of capture. So
once again the Upper Years must resort to more subtle means of relieving the Frosh of
Tricks of the Trade
Now there are no sure-fire ways to capture the Pole, or to avoid capture, so if there
are any pre-frosh reading this, sorry but youre out of luck. In terms of actually
chasing the Pole, caravans of vehicles have been used in the past, connected through
two-way radios, CBs and cell phones. Airplanes have been used to follow from the air
and tracking devices have been planted to follow from a distance. In terms of planting,
both GPS systems on the Ryder truck and "fake Frosh" during Orientation Week
have been used. The Pole has even been stumbled upon in its hiding place before,
completely randomly, so there is nothing sure in life. The only key now is that traffic is
not fun and is not a viable field to be playing tag. I am sure there are wackier and more
devious schemes that have and will be tried.
A well-traveled post
If stories are true, or at least moderately reliable, the Pole has done more traveling
than most adults. Beyond racking up serious rental kilometers in Ryder trucks and doing
some serious time in the woods, cottages and marinas of Ontario, the Pole has been reputed
to have been sent to some pretty amazing locations. Personally I have heard it has been
welded to the bottom of a boat before, has been in a airplane numerous times and has been
shipped, in pieces, all over the world. Seeing Japan, Europe, and all across the North
American continent if some reports are accurate, the Pole should be racking up some
serious frequent flyer miles as well. Where will the Pole end up in the future? I wonder
if well ever see the Pole sent to space
A new Pole, just because
It seems in 1983, the Engineers were restless, their Pole had become slightly bend and
the Queens Golden Gaels were in Toronto for the Vanier Cup. Obviously the engineers
of the day had no choice but to steal another goalpost from Varsity Stadium. Who could
resist such a set of favourable circumstances? The short of the story is, we stole a new
goalpost and shipped it back to Kingston. A piece of the bend and a plaque are mounted in
Clark Hall Pub, but little else is known as to how this caper was pulled off.
Stories of capture and of loss
For individual accounts of which years had trouble when the Pole was in their
possession, check out Ascents & Events
and follow the icons.