Building The Perfect Paddle For Your Big
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Student Life

Building The Perfect Paddle For Your Big


Your Big is always the best Big, and the best Big deserves the best paddle.

My Big is THE best Big. He saw me through a long first semester of college and showed me what it means to carry the Sword and Shield of Phi Delta Theta. So how did I repay him? I cut him a four-foot-long sword out of pure oak, lacquered and painted it azure blue, and made sure to label him as the best Big on the back. Just keep the following tips in mind while your paddle is in the works and you too will see your project sparkle and shine in all it’s Grecian glory above your Big brother or sister’s bed frame this Spring.


Before you can make a paddle for your Big, you have to really know your Big. Make time to hang out with him or her. Your Big WILL make an effort to get to know you like nobody else at your school, so you have to be responsive. 

The best ideas for your paddle will come as you reflect on your time spent hanging out, so pay attention! (If you're stuck, a little stalking on Facebook should do the trick and kickstart your brain. Don't worry, they're your Big now. If you aren't stalking them on Facebook, they aren't doing their job right).

Your Theme.

Find something you shared with your Big. It could be an experience, an interest, an inside joke, anything. As long as you both recognize the significance of your design, because that's half of what this paddle is all about: your relationship with your Big. Think of it as a place-marker of your friendship. It doesn't have to be your theme. Just reference things shared in good-looking spots on your paddle.

I piloted a plane from Orange County to Big Bear with my Big, so across the back of his paddle, there is a cartoon pilot flying a plane bound for Canada, because for whatever reason, my Big happens to be obsessed with Canada.  Be creative. Be artistic. Think outside the box. I know, easy for a fine arts major to say. But you can do it. I believe in you.

If you and your Big are both Chem majors, Break Bad on his or her behind and buy a great big Erlenmeyer flask, fill it halfway with blue rock-candy, slap your letters on that sucker and you've got your personalized paddle shining in all its glory atop that workbench. Remember, it doesn't always have to be a literal wooden paddle, unless of course you want it to be. (Note: If you're low on funds, this one is essential).

Be traditional. 

Don't forget that, to a great extent, this relationship is based on the Chapter. When push comes to shove, Greek Life is obviously what bonds you two as Greek siblings, and it's necessary to represent. You gotta have your letters on there, you gotta have your names on there, and you gotta identify your Chapter. After all, if it wasn't for Greek Life, you wouldn't be working on this paddle right now, would you? 

And for the love of god, tell me who's the Big and who's the little SOMEWHERE on this thing. Don't be stupid. A bottle of hard liquor is not a paddle unless your Big is a connoisseur of booze. A bong is not a paddle unless your Big has a med card and loves it. Your Greek life isn't completely based around partying (nor should it be) so show that you're appreciative of that fact. 


When a truly inspired idea for anything in life comes along, you'll know it. Go with it. Every single time. Just trust me. Imagine you are shopping for your friend’s birthday present. Your friend, who all throughout high school, literally sat and pouted in her bed every single morning until somebody brought her her daily coffee. Your friend who once drank coffee and nothing else for a week straight. The one who nearly fought a hobo for her spot in line at the donut shop and damn near missed her flight for it when you drove her to the airport at five in the morning that one time. And you see the Starbucks Mocha-Maker at Sears, sitting there, glaring you in the face, with a tag on the box: 400% off. No tax, completely assembled, the VERY LAST ONE IN STOCK, and Morgan Freeman descends from above to narrate your thought process, and you come to a decision: you don't buy it. 

Seriously? What the hell, man? Case in point. You. You need to make it. You need to give it to them. You need to be the one who knows your big well enough to complete a project like this for them. The way you present this paddle will tell your Big everything they need to know about how much effort you put into it. If you aren’t there, what does that say? 

You need to be there, and you need to be proud of your paddle. If you aren’t, it will show, and your Big will know that you put it off till the last minute when you have your letter-paddle exchange. This should be a genuine experience. You only get to make one paddle for your Big. It’s a representation of your relationship with him or her. If it’s half-assed, then that means your relationship with your Big is half-assed. 

If it’s creative, artistic, respectful, and authentic, you, your Big, and everyone else will know the kind of relationship you share with your Biggie. And don’t kid yourself. If there were ever a project not to put off, this would be it. Start early, and good luck.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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