Commander William Earl Fanin, Class of 1945, Capstone Essay Contest
Crossing the equator for the first time used to be a harrowing experience for those who endured the Royal Baby and the rest of the Royal Court. Today, shellbacks still initiate pollywogs with many of the old traditions—but with a little less mess.
Crawling through a 50-foot-long canvas tube filled with three-day-old garbage while suffering blows from a wet, rice-filled canvas bags might be considered punishment befitting only criminals in a prison camp. Regulations on prisoners' rights, however, would eliminate even the most unruly convicts from such practices. Who then would subject themselves to such an outrageous indignity? Only an inferior "pollywog" determined to become a distinguished "shellback" during a "crossing the line" ceremony.