Hank Sipe

Hank Sipe, principal at Sipe Law Firm in Rock Hill, SC, is a graduate of Woodberry Forest School (1974) in Orange, VA, and the University of Virginia (1979), where he was a member of the Eli Banana Ribbon Society, the oldest (1878) service and social organization still existing at UVA. Mr. Sipe is married and the father of a son and daughter. He was interviewed because of his broad knowledge of business and tax law, and because of his entertaining life experiences, sharp mind, and skilled commentary.

Beast reviewing his resume

Hank Sipe:

After UVA, went to Richmond Law School. And, from ’82 to ’83, and after law school, spent a year clerking for a federal district judge in Birmingham, Alabama. And after that year was up, went to Washington, D.C. to work for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the Office of General Counsel. Did that for a couple years, wasn’t any kind of career decision to go there, was just an opportunity that presented itself and after working there, FERC as it’s called, went to Georgetown University Law Center in ’87 to ‘88 and got my masters in tax law. And from there in 88 moved to Charlotte, North Carolina where I went to work with Kennedy Covington, a big North Carolina law firm that had just opened a South Carolina office in Rock Hill. And, so, I was stationed really in the in the Rock Hill South Carolina office and that was in ‘88 and I’ve been practicing law there in upstate South Carolina since then. I moved from the Kennedy Covington which is now merged into K&L Gates, some gigantic thousand-person law firm, and I am on my own. It’s Sipe Law Firm, have been doing that for about I think a little over four years. So, just cranking it out.

Family Situation: A His, Hers, and Ours

Hank Sipe:

Married to, my wife’s name is Stephanie. And will be married, I think it’s 11 years coming up here soon, something like that. And she has a child now 17, a boy named Harrison, who’s at Christ Church School, rising junior. And then I have a child of mine from a prior marriage, Keller, he’s 21 and is a rising senior at Clemson. And then we have one between us, one of our own, Chloe, little girl who’s 8 and a rising third grader. So we’ve got a his, a hers, and an ours.

To you, what is marriage? A changing institution?

Hank Sipe:

Well I haven’t read, I know I saw just on my phone coming up that Supreme Court had struck down at least parts of DOMA the Defense of Marriage Act. Haven’t read it or don’t know any of those details. My personal thoughts are that a marriage is between a man and a woman, but I will say that that as I’ve gotten older, I really just don’t give a shit as much, I guess, for a lack of better words. Meaning that, I just, it’s you know, I’m okay, I mean, if it’s that important to two guys or two girls to get married, you know, honestly I’ve got other things to think about and worry about I’m not as offended by, you know, same-sex relationships as I was. Again, I don’t know whether I’m just become more tolerant or just lazier, but I do believe in traditional, you know, marriages. that’s what I would, you know, support.

Visits to UNC in Chapel Hill from UVA in Charlottesville

Hank Sipe:

I would say all of my visits, actually, were alcohol driven. When groups of us, you know, we’re traveling from UVA over here for, you know, weekend of partying. You know, as I think about it, I don’t know if I had any normal, sober visits ever since then. I may have been back once or twice since college days, but I couldn’t tell you and those times that I was here during college days I couldn’t tell you much about those either. Mostly, I just remember waking up. Almost had the opportunity to come back here with all of my faculties when my son, he’s at Clemson, applied to Chapel Hill but we never got to the interview stage. He was wait-listed and we went ahead and chose Clemson.

Hide any contraband in high school? Duty, virtue, or utilitarian ethics?

Hank Sipe:

Well, the only contraband that I was involved with in high school was alcohol. It was beer, yeah. But no, we had, I didn’t do the toilet thing, though. We did have tequila. Ban deodorant used to have these round tops and we’d take top off and it was like a gigantic jigger, and we would use that as a jigger for taking shots of tequila and we would steal, you know, limes or lemons from the cafeteria and use that, you know, to take shots. We did have a really nice arrangement down at the skeet range where there was an abandoned drink machine. And it was there for who knows how many years, Carter and I had keys to it, and I don’t think anybody else did, keys to both the little house that it was located in as well as the machine itself. And the machine still worked, and it was a, you know, full-size, you know, drink dispenser. Anyway, we would drive into to town and fill it up with beer and it was chilling down while we were in class during the week waiting for us, yeah, on the weekends and we would go there at night and go in inside and sit down and have ourselves a couple drinks.

How would you compare the party scene, “Then versus Now”?

Hank Sipe:

I think that, but again, people and parents and authority just didn’t care as much back then when we were doing it as they do now. I think it’s just as bad, and in some cases, worse in high school now than it was. And college is another matter, though. I don’t think that that college at least at the University of Virginia, for example, is nearly as bad as it was when I was there. Which, by bad, I mean good. I mean, we had a, you know, a hugely good time as you well know and I think that whole situation has changed and with the drinking age and folks getting into legal trouble and I just, there’s not nearly as much openly going on, you know, as there was when we were in college which I think we’re kind of a the golden days. So, I think that’s changed a time.
What was life like your first year at UVA?

I mean, there was something literally going on one every day, every night, all the time. And it’s kind of scary when you’re entering that environment from prep school where we have pretty strict rules, almost like getting out of prison. Not exactly that, I didn’t feel like I was in prison, but we didn’t have the same freedom and latitude that you would at a public school. And then being young and going in to a place like Virginia which at that
point it was just, you know, full bore just, wildness, and it’s difficult not to get caught up in it and I did. But fortunately, I had enough brains to still produce in school. But I do have regrets I think for having not maybe accomplished all that I could have in school because of the time I spent doing some serious partying. But, you know, in my case, I guess I was able to strike a little bit of a balance and then I woke up and calmed down a little bit near the end and kind of, you know, salvaged it all and ended up graduating with honors. But I could have done so much better but I almost couldn’t help myself it seems. It was just too much fun the first two years.

Did students get away with more back in the day? Cat & Mouse Game

Hank Sipe:

I think, I think so. I think that that’s the key, that we were able to get away with it more. Than I was, I think I was very lucky to have not gotten caught, some of the things that I did and I was, I entered Woodberry when i was 13-years-old, I was, you know, real, real, young and I think I could have been more susceptible to getting in trouble but I think it did a pretty good job of staying out of trouble. But I think that we got away with more than I think, that in high school today, it’s a huge problem, both alcohol and drugs. My song Keller just got out of Country Day in Charlotte just a few years ago and I believe that that that drugs and alcohol were rampant and I think it was even more excessive than when we were at Woodberry. But they’re getting caught more because I think that’s the change now is people are more tuned into it and it’s a social issue and it’s a cat-and-mouse game and it really does scare me, the, I think, the degree that alcohol drugs are in these schools.

Tell Me About Phi Kap and Eli Banana at UVA

Hank Sipe:

You know, my Woodberry friends who had gone elsewhere, you know, like yourself,
Chapel Hill and other places. And at Virginia, was able to pretty much pick up where I left off through two means: primarily one was my fraternity which is Phi Kap which was about, as you know, party of places is there could be. It really does remind me of the, you know, the Animal House, you know, movie the, yeah, it was a delta but a lot of people say that anyway there was a, you know, it was it was a lot going on at Phi Kap and we knew no boundaries or no rules and there was a lot of heavy duty activity going on at any, you know, time of day or night. So, it was the Phi Kap fraternity again that was notorious for that, and also the Eli Banana Ribbon Society at Virginia which, for those who don’t know, it was really a fraternity of fraternities. There was a group and Eli Banana has been around for you know, a century or more, but would tap or select individuals from the various fraternities to be members of Eli Banana and we had our own rituals and meetings and activities and one of our missions was to kind of take the party to another level if that was even possible. But we, we did. And, so, you know, I was able to sustain my momentum from high school, really primarily through Phi Kap and Eli Banana.

Did they care about secrecy? Acts of Kindness

Hank Sipe:

As far as the identity of the members? No, unlike other societies at Virginia, the membership to my knowledge never was and isn’t a secret. So, you know, rituals, you know, get down on your knees, and a show respect for those who’d been in Eli longer. Great deal of urination in the rituals…

Doug Monroe:

What would that might have been on?

Hank Sipe:

What, might have what, been on what?

Doug Monroe:

I don’t know if this is… What I’m curious about is…

Hank Sipe:

Well, ok. I can show you one day because I got in before had. So I can actually perform that which might be kind of fun for me. But anyway, when… Okay, it would not be unusual, you know, as a, you know, a newbie on your knees in front of them an elder Eli, for that elder Eli to relieve himself while you were down on the ground. On a human being. And let me say this too, that when I got tapped and not initiated but that night where’d you get the call that you have been voted into Eli and they come and get you and they drag you out of the fraternity and they, you know, parade you around all over the grounds. By the time they came, I had just untold amounts of alcohol and preparation, and when they showed up, they’re pouring more down your throat. It was a little bit chilly, you know, a little bit of shiver going on. And when I was down on the ground, really appreciated the warmth of the liquid. So, in that, you know, respect, it was not, you know, it was a good thing. It was, it was an act of kindness, almost.

What rituals or practices did Eli Banana pursue?

Hank Sipe:

Well, not really. Okay, go ahead.

Doug Monroe:

I wanted to ask you a little more about, you know, the rituals and so on at Virginia. This Eli group, what kind of rituals did they have? What practices did they do in particular?

Hank Sipe:

Well, now…

Doug Monroe:

Like when initiated…

Hank Sipe:

Well, as you well know some, of these things are secret

Doug Monroe:

But a lot of them are in the open.

Hank Sipe:

Right. One that, the actual initiation ceremony I think varied. I remember mine distinctly; it occurred at the SAE house and it was gross, even by my standards. and I won’t describe what took place there, but there is a ritual where you approach another Eli Banana and say, “Oh most noble Eli, may I approach you?” Offer you a drink, or whatever. You get down on your knees and they have to give you permission to rise back up and they ultimately do give you permission to get up, get them a drink and they’ll then drink it. and in the robes of the Eli bananas, in order to kind of identify ourselves, you know, had these awful-looking robes that we would wear around, very colorful.

Reminiscing on the Sensation

Hank Sipe:

Right.

Doug Monroe:

As I recall, you called me up on Brown’s Mountain for that very same… you asked me to be, you may not remember this, trying to say… then I got picked up there and then we went across, a mad bolt, over to Phi Kap, the whole group with the drums. There must have been like 30 of us, 40 of us. And somebody asked me and some others… I felt that same warm sensation.

Hank Sipe:

Mhm.

Doug Monroe:

You wouldn’t, having had it done to you… follow the Golden Rule. You wouldn’t have done that to your friend… You wouldn’t do that to a friend following The Golden Rule, would you? Well, he was saying bad things about…

Hank Sipe:

Wouldn’t…

Doug Monroe:

Smith, saying really ugly things about him.

Hank Sipe:

Wouldn’t hesitate to do it. Certainly…

Doug Monroe:

Have you been involved?

Hank Sipe:

Oh, absolutely. Yes. And would do it again, given the opportunity. It’s just a, you know, centuries-old tradition. As I said, it serves several purposes, you know, we get to, you know, demean you at the same time as we offer you, you know, this act of kindness as I described. So, it served several purposes and it was like fun, and there wasn’t anything you could do about it.

Did Eli Banana serve a higher purpose?

Doug Monroe:

It’s actually the oldest organization… is there a higher purpose to it?

Hank Sipe:

Yes, well, you know, there was an article… When I was in school, Eli Banana, it was an honor to be in it and it was, you know, about exclusively a social organization at that time when I was there, you know, ’74 to ’78. And it was an honor in that you were the kind of the, you know, the cream of the party crop. At least that’s, you know, how we viewed ourselves: kind of the wildest and most drunk and obnoxious sorts. A lot of us went on to, you know, to do decent things. So we weren’t all just, you know, complete, you know, bombs, you know, doctors and lawyers and whatnots.

Were you at the hundredth Eli reunion? Being Charitable Again

Doug Monroe:

You were at the hundredth too, weren’t you?

Hank Sipe:

Was at the hundredth, yes.

Doug Monroe:

Tell us about who was there…

Hank Sipe:

Well, let me finish my one thought. Today, the Eli Banana society, I think over the last like ten years, is trying to get back to its roots a little bit more and be more than just, it was when I was there, just a bunch of people having, good guys having a having a lot of fun. And actually raising money to contribute and donate to the university for worthy causes, you know, so some sort of socially redeeming, you know, activity too.

Doug Monroe:

Have you contributed to Eli?

Hank Sipe:

I have given a few dollars in the past. And I would do it again. I would like to continue to support them because it doesn’t, you know, all go just to buying kegs of beer anymore. I mean, they really are raising for a purpose, so I think that’s a good thing.

Happy to be back and curious about “Why”

Hank Sipe:

I like coming back here and being from Virginia, the Commonwealth, and having gone to the University of Virginia, you know, we were raised to love, to hate all things Chapel Hill. But, as we all know, majority of my friends from, close friends from Woodbury, ended up in Chapel Hill. I spent a decent amount of time here during my college days and, you know, it’s fun coming back. So, I mean, I’m happy to be here and curious about why.

Doug Monroe:

So it was a Sports Camp where we really stayed, we sharpened the saw?

Hank Sipe:

I think that we did. Sports Camp was tremendous.

Doug Monroe:

Were you there that night by any chance, that Mr. Car came in…

Comments on Coach C and Cathy

Hank Sipe:

Yeah, Coach C, I’ve actually thought about this in the last couple of years. I don’t know why, but everybody has always called him, you know, Coach C, Coach, you know, Red, even, and it’s because most of us, you know, our introduction to him was, you know, playing football or some other sports at Woodberry. I have never, I have always called him Mr. Car despite the the close relationship with him, you know, with sports. And I think the reason for that is that I met him when I was ten. He wasn’t a coach then, he was a counselor at a sports camp. So, my introduction, I mean, I may have been the the youngest of all of us to have first been introduced to him. There are other that others have spent a lot more time with him and maybe work, you know, a lot closer but, you know, when I was ten-years-old I first met you know, Mr. Car and Cathy Car. And back then, it was Mr. Car for sure and I had four years of calling him Mr. Car and even when I started playing sports at Woodberry, I never really made that transition to Coach because I’ve spent four years calling him Mr. Carnegie. Was a father figure, Mrs. Car was a mother figure, especially to me at that young age, but they were just remarkable.

When did The Golden Boy know he was in GDAT?

Hank Sipe:

I was far from golden boy, but I tried, you know, that the GDAT, it’s funny to me in that, and I think somebody, you, or somebody commented before to you, it just kind of happens. It’s not like a scheduled event, it just happens when there’s, you know, a group of us together. But my, you know, memories go back to, you know, Woodberry weekends in particular when we would be, you know, off campus and especially during sports camp days. That was a huge, I think for GDAT when we were all GDATers gathered together for that month or two. I remember way less of it occurring in college; most of it occurred either with sports camp during the summers or back at Woodberry. And I think one reason for that for me is that most of y’all went to went to Chapel Hill and I didn’t have it is as large a group of GDATers to kind of get together with.

Did GDAT have rituals?

Hank Sipe:

Well, we had we had, of course…

Doug Monroe:

More than just a good theory…

Hank Sipe:

Oh no, it was, you had to perform a ritual to get into GDAT which was difficult after having had all the necessary drinks beforehand, but yes, there was a procedure that you had to do that was, you know, judged and reviewed by fellow GDATers around you and you had to successfully complete that before you could be inducted into GDAT.

Do you remember playing Cardinal Puff at Sports Camp?

Hank Sipe:

Was this during Sports Camp?

Doug Monroe:

During Sports Camp.

Hank Sipe:

I think where you’re heading with this, i do remember a mangled soccer net the next morning from when we were resting on it at the soccer field like a hammock. I don’t actually remember the outing cabin which you tell me was the first part…

Doug Monroe:

Why did you destroy the soccer net?

Hank Sipe:

I did not destroy, well I did destroy the, soccer goal but it happened only because I was resting, needed a place to kind of sit down and it looked comfortable and inviting, like a little hammock like a little hammock, see. So just sat on it to rest and in the process, I believe that the frame got mangled beyond all recognition.

Were you upset about not being a Cardinal? Acts of Violence

Doug Monroe:

Could it be that you were upset at not being a Cardinal? Or was there any violence involved?

Hank Sipe:

I don’t I don’t recall that. Are you saying that that there was? I don’t remember there, were you there? Who was I there with? I don’t even remember who I was there with. I do remember…

Doug Monroe:

It landed on me, for you.

Hank Sipe:

And I still do, even though I don’t remember anything. I’m sure it was your fault just like when you hit me in the face at Phi Kap at Virginia one night. Yes, you did do that. Hit me right smack dab in the face after we had come back from a Woodberry game. But anyway, I do remember having had a few drinks and laying down on the soccer goal, but if I’m hearing you correct, I think you’re accusing me of a violent act, that it was not quite as innocent as that.

Could the so-called “rednecks from Orange” have done it?

The so-called “rednecks from Orange” that were, you know, messing with the soccer goal and done donuts on the field that night?

Hank Sipe:

That would be a nice explanation for it.

Doug Monroe:

Yeah.

Hank Sipe:

Yeah. I’ll buy that although I don’t remember it.

Doug Monroe:

Ok, alright.

Hank Sipe:

Sounds good.

Overview

Hank Sipe

Hank Sipe, principal at Sipe Law Firm in Rock Hill, SC, is a graduate of Woodberry Forest School (1974) in Orange, VA, and the University of Virginia (1979), where he was a member of the Eli Banana Ribbon Society, the oldest (1878) service and social organization still existing at UVA. Mr. Sipe is married and the father of a son and daughter. He was interviewed because of his broad knowledge of business and tax law, and because of his entertaining life experiences, sharp mind, and skilled commentary.
Transcript

Beast reviewing his resume

Hank Sipe:

After UVA, went to Richmond Law School. And, from ’82 to ’83, and after law school, spent a year clerking for a federal district judge in Birmingham, Alabama. And after that year was up, went to Washington, D.C. to work for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the Office of General Counsel. Did that for a couple years, wasn’t any kind of career decision to go there, was just an opportunity that presented itself and after working there, FERC as it’s called, went to Georgetown University Law Center in ’87 to ‘88 and got my masters in tax law. And from there in 88 moved to Charlotte, North Carolina where I went to work with Kennedy Covington, a big North Carolina law firm that had just opened a South Carolina office in Rock Hill. And, so, I was stationed really in the in the Rock Hill South Carolina office and that was in ‘88 and I’ve been practicing law there in upstate South Carolina since then. I moved from the Kennedy Covington which is now merged into K&L Gates, some gigantic thousand-person law firm, and I am on my own. It’s Sipe Law Firm, have been doing that for about I think a little over four years. So, just cranking it out.

Family Situation: A His, Hers, and Ours

Hank Sipe:

Married to, my wife’s name is Stephanie. And will be married, I think it’s 11 years coming up here soon, something like that. And she has a child now 17, a boy named Harrison, who’s at Christ Church School, rising junior. And then I have a child of mine from a prior marriage, Keller, he’s 21 and is a rising senior at Clemson. And then we have one between us, one of our own, Chloe, little girl who’s 8 and a rising third grader. So we’ve got a his, a hers, and an ours.

To you, what is marriage? A changing institution?

Hank Sipe:

Well I haven’t read, I know I saw just on my phone coming up that Supreme Court had struck down at least parts of DOMA the Defense of Marriage Act. Haven’t read it or don’t know any of those details. My personal thoughts are that a marriage is between a man and a woman, but I will say that that as I’ve gotten older, I really just don’t give a shit as much, I guess, for a lack of better words. Meaning that, I just, it’s you know, I’m okay, I mean, if it’s that important to two guys or two girls to get married, you know, honestly I’ve got other things to think about and worry about I’m not as offended by, you know, same-sex relationships as I was. Again, I don’t know whether I’m just become more tolerant or just lazier, but I do believe in traditional, you know, marriages. that’s what I would, you know, support.

Visits to UNC in Chapel Hill from UVA in Charlottesville

Hank Sipe:

I would say all of my visits, actually, were alcohol driven. When groups of us, you know, we’re traveling from UVA over here for, you know, weekend of partying. You know, as I think about it, I don’t know if I had any normal, sober visits ever since then. I may have been back once or twice since college days, but I couldn’t tell you and those times that I was here during college days I couldn’t tell you much about those either. Mostly, I just remember waking up. Almost had the opportunity to come back here with all of my faculties when my son, he’s at Clemson, applied to Chapel Hill but we never got to the interview stage. He was wait-listed and we went ahead and chose Clemson.

Hide any contraband in high school? Duty, virtue, or utilitarian ethics?

Hank Sipe:

Well, the only contraband that I was involved with in high school was alcohol. It was beer, yeah. But no, we had, I didn’t do the toilet thing, though. We did have tequila. Ban deodorant used to have these round tops and we’d take top off and it was like a gigantic jigger, and we would use that as a jigger for taking shots of tequila and we would steal, you know, limes or lemons from the cafeteria and use that, you know, to take shots. We did have a really nice arrangement down at the skeet range where there was an abandoned drink machine. And it was there for who knows how many years, Carter and I had keys to it, and I don’t think anybody else did, keys to both the little house that it was located in as well as the machine itself. And the machine still worked, and it was a, you know, full-size, you know, drink dispenser. Anyway, we would drive into to town and fill it up with beer and it was chilling down while we were in class during the week waiting for us, yeah, on the weekends and we would go there at night and go in inside and sit down and have ourselves a couple drinks.

How would you compare the party scene, “Then versus Now”?

Hank Sipe:

I think that, but again, people and parents and authority just didn’t care as much back then when we were doing it as they do now. I think it’s just as bad, and in some cases, worse in high school now than it was. And college is another matter, though. I don’t think that that college at least at the University of Virginia, for example, is nearly as bad as it was when I was there. Which, by bad, I mean good. I mean, we had a, you know, a hugely good time as you well know and I think that whole situation has changed and with the drinking age and folks getting into legal trouble and I just, there’s not nearly as much openly going on, you know, as there was when we were in college which I think we’re kind of a the golden days. So, I think that’s changed a time.
What was life like your first year at UVA?

I mean, there was something literally going on one every day, every night, all the time. And it’s kind of scary when you’re entering that environment from prep school where we have pretty strict rules, almost like getting out of prison. Not exactly that, I didn’t feel like I was in prison, but we didn’t have the same freedom and latitude that you would at a public school. And then being young and going in to a place like Virginia which at that
point it was just, you know, full bore just, wildness, and it’s difficult not to get caught up in it and I did. But fortunately, I had enough brains to still produce in school. But I do have regrets I think for having not maybe accomplished all that I could have in school because of the time I spent doing some serious partying. But, you know, in my case, I guess I was able to strike a little bit of a balance and then I woke up and calmed down a little bit near the end and kind of, you know, salvaged it all and ended up graduating with honors. But I could have done so much better but I almost couldn’t help myself it seems. It was just too much fun the first two years.

Did students get away with more back in the day? Cat & Mouse Game

Hank Sipe:

I think, I think so. I think that that’s the key, that we were able to get away with it more. Than I was, I think I was very lucky to have not gotten caught, some of the things that I did and I was, I entered Woodberry when i was 13-years-old, I was, you know, real, real, young and I think I could have been more susceptible to getting in trouble but I think it did a pretty good job of staying out of trouble. But I think that we got away with more than I think, that in high school today, it’s a huge problem, both alcohol and drugs. My song Keller just got out of Country Day in Charlotte just a few years ago and I believe that that that drugs and alcohol were rampant and I think it was even more excessive than when we were at Woodberry. But they’re getting caught more because I think that’s the change now is people are more tuned into it and it’s a social issue and it’s a cat-and-mouse game and it really does scare me, the, I think, the degree that alcohol drugs are in these schools.

Tell Me About Phi Kap and Eli Banana at UVA

Hank Sipe:

You know, my Woodberry friends who had gone elsewhere, you know, like yourself,
Chapel Hill and other places. And at Virginia, was able to pretty much pick up where I left off through two means: primarily one was my fraternity which is Phi Kap which was about, as you know, party of places is there could be. It really does remind me of the, you know, the Animal House, you know, movie the, yeah, it was a delta but a lot of people say that anyway there was a, you know, it was it was a lot going on at Phi Kap and we knew no boundaries or no rules and there was a lot of heavy duty activity going on at any, you know, time of day or night. So, it was the Phi Kap fraternity again that was notorious for that, and also the Eli Banana Ribbon Society at Virginia which, for those who don’t know, it was really a fraternity of fraternities. There was a group and Eli Banana has been around for you know, a century or more, but would tap or select individuals from the various fraternities to be members of Eli Banana and we had our own rituals and meetings and activities and one of our missions was to kind of take the party to another level if that was even possible. But we, we did. And, so, you know, I was able to sustain my momentum from high school, really primarily through Phi Kap and Eli Banana.

Did they care about secrecy? Acts of Kindness

Hank Sipe:

As far as the identity of the members? No, unlike other societies at Virginia, the membership to my knowledge never was and isn’t a secret. So, you know, rituals, you know, get down on your knees, and a show respect for those who’d been in Eli longer. Great deal of urination in the rituals…

Doug Monroe:

What would that might have been on?

Hank Sipe:

What, might have what, been on what?

Doug Monroe:

I don’t know if this is… What I’m curious about is…

Hank Sipe:

Well, ok. I can show you one day because I got in before had. So I can actually perform that which might be kind of fun for me. But anyway, when… Okay, it would not be unusual, you know, as a, you know, a newbie on your knees in front of them an elder Eli, for that elder Eli to relieve himself while you were down on the ground. On a human being. And let me say this too, that when I got tapped and not initiated but that night where’d you get the call that you have been voted into Eli and they come and get you and they drag you out of the fraternity and they, you know, parade you around all over the grounds. By the time they came, I had just untold amounts of alcohol and preparation, and when they showed up, they’re pouring more down your throat. It was a little bit chilly, you know, a little bit of shiver going on. And when I was down on the ground, really appreciated the warmth of the liquid. So, in that, you know, respect, it was not, you know, it was a good thing. It was, it was an act of kindness, almost.

What rituals or practices did Eli Banana pursue?

Hank Sipe:

Well, not really. Okay, go ahead.

Doug Monroe:

I wanted to ask you a little more about, you know, the rituals and so on at Virginia. This Eli group, what kind of rituals did they have? What practices did they do in particular?

Hank Sipe:

Well, now…

Doug Monroe:

Like when initiated…

Hank Sipe:

Well, as you well know some, of these things are secret

Doug Monroe:

But a lot of them are in the open.

Hank Sipe:

Right. One that, the actual initiation ceremony I think varied. I remember mine distinctly; it occurred at the SAE house and it was gross, even by my standards. and I won’t describe what took place there, but there is a ritual where you approach another Eli Banana and say, “Oh most noble Eli, may I approach you?” Offer you a drink, or whatever. You get down on your knees and they have to give you permission to rise back up and they ultimately do give you permission to get up, get them a drink and they’ll then drink it. and in the robes of the Eli bananas, in order to kind of identify ourselves, you know, had these awful-looking robes that we would wear around, very colorful.

Reminiscing on the Sensation

Hank Sipe:

Right.

Doug Monroe:

As I recall, you called me up on Brown’s Mountain for that very same… you asked me to be, you may not remember this, trying to say… then I got picked up there and then we went across, a mad bolt, over to Phi Kap, the whole group with the drums. There must have been like 30 of us, 40 of us. And somebody asked me and some others… I felt that same warm sensation.

Hank Sipe:

Mhm.

Doug Monroe:

You wouldn’t, having had it done to you… follow the Golden Rule. You wouldn’t have done that to your friend… You wouldn’t do that to a friend following The Golden Rule, would you? Well, he was saying bad things about…

Hank Sipe:

Wouldn’t…

Doug Monroe:

Smith, saying really ugly things about him.

Hank Sipe:

Wouldn’t hesitate to do it. Certainly…

Doug Monroe:

Have you been involved?

Hank Sipe:

Oh, absolutely. Yes. And would do it again, given the opportunity. It’s just a, you know, centuries-old tradition. As I said, it serves several purposes, you know, we get to, you know, demean you at the same time as we offer you, you know, this act of kindness as I described. So, it served several purposes and it was like fun, and there wasn’t anything you could do about it.

Did Eli Banana serve a higher purpose?

Doug Monroe:

It’s actually the oldest organization… is there a higher purpose to it?

Hank Sipe:

Yes, well, you know, there was an article… When I was in school, Eli Banana, it was an honor to be in it and it was, you know, about exclusively a social organization at that time when I was there, you know, ’74 to ’78. And it was an honor in that you were the kind of the, you know, the cream of the party crop. At least that’s, you know, how we viewed ourselves: kind of the wildest and most drunk and obnoxious sorts. A lot of us went on to, you know, to do decent things. So we weren’t all just, you know, complete, you know, bombs, you know, doctors and lawyers and whatnots.

Were you at the hundredth Eli reunion? Being Charitable Again

Doug Monroe:

You were at the hundredth too, weren’t you?

Hank Sipe:

Was at the hundredth, yes.

Doug Monroe:

Tell us about who was there…

Hank Sipe:

Well, let me finish my one thought. Today, the Eli Banana society, I think over the last like ten years, is trying to get back to its roots a little bit more and be more than just, it was when I was there, just a bunch of people having, good guys having a having a lot of fun. And actually raising money to contribute and donate to the university for worthy causes, you know, so some sort of socially redeeming, you know, activity too.

Doug Monroe:

Have you contributed to Eli?

Hank Sipe:

I have given a few dollars in the past. And I would do it again. I would like to continue to support them because it doesn’t, you know, all go just to buying kegs of beer anymore. I mean, they really are raising for a purpose, so I think that’s a good thing.

Happy to be back and curious about “Why”

Hank Sipe:

I like coming back here and being from Virginia, the Commonwealth, and having gone to the University of Virginia, you know, we were raised to love, to hate all things Chapel Hill. But, as we all know, majority of my friends from, close friends from Woodbury, ended up in Chapel Hill. I spent a decent amount of time here during my college days and, you know, it’s fun coming back. So, I mean, I’m happy to be here and curious about why.

Doug Monroe:

So it was a Sports Camp where we really stayed, we sharpened the saw?

Hank Sipe:

I think that we did. Sports Camp was tremendous.

Doug Monroe:

Were you there that night by any chance, that Mr. Car came in…

Comments on Coach C and Cathy

Hank Sipe:

Yeah, Coach C, I’ve actually thought about this in the last couple of years. I don’t know why, but everybody has always called him, you know, Coach C, Coach, you know, Red, even, and it’s because most of us, you know, our introduction to him was, you know, playing football or some other sports at Woodberry. I have never, I have always called him Mr. Car despite the the close relationship with him, you know, with sports. And I think the reason for that is that I met him when I was ten. He wasn’t a coach then, he was a counselor at a sports camp. So, my introduction, I mean, I may have been the the youngest of all of us to have first been introduced to him. There are other that others have spent a lot more time with him and maybe work, you know, a lot closer but, you know, when I was ten-years-old I first met you know, Mr. Car and Cathy Car. And back then, it was Mr. Car for sure and I had four years of calling him Mr. Car and even when I started playing sports at Woodberry, I never really made that transition to Coach because I’ve spent four years calling him Mr. Carnegie. Was a father figure, Mrs. Car was a mother figure, especially to me at that young age, but they were just remarkable.

When did The Golden Boy know he was in GDAT?

Hank Sipe:

I was far from golden boy, but I tried, you know, that the GDAT, it’s funny to me in that, and I think somebody, you, or somebody commented before to you, it just kind of happens. It’s not like a scheduled event, it just happens when there’s, you know, a group of us together. But my, you know, memories go back to, you know, Woodberry weekends in particular when we would be, you know, off campus and especially during sports camp days. That was a huge, I think for GDAT when we were all GDATers gathered together for that month or two. I remember way less of it occurring in college; most of it occurred either with sports camp during the summers or back at Woodberry. And I think one reason for that for me is that most of y’all went to went to Chapel Hill and I didn’t have it is as large a group of GDATers to kind of get together with.

Did GDAT have rituals?

Hank Sipe:

Well, we had we had, of course…

Doug Monroe:

More than just a good theory…

Hank Sipe:

Oh no, it was, you had to perform a ritual to get into GDAT which was difficult after having had all the necessary drinks beforehand, but yes, there was a procedure that you had to do that was, you know, judged and reviewed by fellow GDATers around you and you had to successfully complete that before you could be inducted into GDAT.

Do you remember playing Cardinal Puff at Sports Camp?

Hank Sipe:

Was this during Sports Camp?

Doug Monroe:

During Sports Camp.

Hank Sipe:

I think where you’re heading with this, i do remember a mangled soccer net the next morning from when we were resting on it at the soccer field like a hammock. I don’t actually remember the outing cabin which you tell me was the first part…

Doug Monroe:

Why did you destroy the soccer net?

Hank Sipe:

I did not destroy, well I did destroy the, soccer goal but it happened only because I was resting, needed a place to kind of sit down and it looked comfortable and inviting, like a little hammock like a little hammock, see. So just sat on it to rest and in the process, I believe that the frame got mangled beyond all recognition.

Were you upset about not being a Cardinal? Acts of Violence

Doug Monroe:

Could it be that you were upset at not being a Cardinal? Or was there any violence involved?

Hank Sipe:

I don’t I don’t recall that. Are you saying that that there was? I don’t remember there, were you there? Who was I there with? I don’t even remember who I was there with. I do remember…

Doug Monroe:

It landed on me, for you.

Hank Sipe:

And I still do, even though I don’t remember anything. I’m sure it was your fault just like when you hit me in the face at Phi Kap at Virginia one night. Yes, you did do that. Hit me right smack dab in the face after we had come back from a Woodberry game. But anyway, I do remember having had a few drinks and laying down on the soccer goal, but if I’m hearing you correct, I think you’re accusing me of a violent act, that it was not quite as innocent as that.

Could the so-called “rednecks from Orange” have done it?

The so-called “rednecks from Orange” that were, you know, messing with the soccer goal and done donuts on the field that night?

Hank Sipe:

That would be a nice explanation for it.

Doug Monroe:

Yeah.

Hank Sipe:

Yeah. I’ll buy that although I don’t remember it.

Doug Monroe:

Ok, alright.

Hank Sipe:

Sounds good.

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