Mount_doom

Good day ladies and gentlemen,

I would invite you to spare some time to learn about me, and in turn about Alpha Delta Phi.  I am Joshua Schulz and am an alum ot five (meaning graduated in 2005).  While at Alpha Delta Phi, I held three positions; house manager (maintaining the physical plant of the house), vice president (second in charge of operations), and president (in charge of operations). One of the fraternity’s big goals during my time was to become officially recognized as part of the Greek community within the university and to ensure that those that followed me preserved that goal.
I have many great memories of my time within the fraternity and it is difficult to pick any single one as a favorite, but let me tell you a story of a hero named Jimmy and his quest for the mysterious “Magma Rock,” an object of immeasurable power heralded to be at the pinnacle of “Mount Doom.”

Jimmy is your typical hero type; awkward with the ladies (not as awkward as me), possessing an undeniable strength of character, the type of person who can get along with anyone and is inspirational to those around him — topped off with a radio voice and a silver tongue.  The Magma Rock was lost to myth and legend long before our hero or any of his companions walked the halls of the fraternity, but Jimmy would hear none of it. He was going to find that Magma Rock if it was the last thing he did before going to bed. If you don’t know what the Magma Rock is, fret not, dear reader. Nobody does.

Let us take this opportunity to meet Jimmy’s supporting cast.  First, Nik the flying Dutchman, known far and wide for his ability to climb anything and anyone as well as his ability to fill giant shoes (and coats). Second, Eric the Norwegian rockfist, renowned for his steady temper, ability to make anyone laugh, and ability to punch out a T-Rex with a single blow.  Third, Mark the rose, known for his smooth talk, master web skills, and skill with the ladies. And finally, me, Josh the Ogre, known for my desire to sleep, trademark blade-wielding skills to cut through a wall of masking tape covering my bedroom door, adorning shower curtains as clothing when necessary, and general statements of “I hate you guys.”

Back to Jimmy’s quest. One evening, Jimmy and his valiant companions were on their way to their respective lodgings within the chapter house as it was nearing bedtime. In a stroke of utter inspiration, silliness and pure imagination, Jimmy spontaneously strayed from the path and began what would be his legendary climb of “Mount Doom” — which may or may not have resembled the large wooden staircase in the middle of the house. His dutiful companions followed, asking “where are we going?” “To get the Magma Rock!” Jimmy replied with an ever-elevating vocal inflection.  For the next several hours, Jimmy “climbed” Mt. Doom in search of the Magma Rock in all manner of interesting and inventive ways, refusing to be put off his path.  His diligent companions did not stray from his side, not quite understanding what the Magma Rock was, yet following him in his quest toward whatever end was to come. For the casual observer, we certainly looked the part of a merry band of men on a fool’s errand — for we allowed ourselves to be led by the guidance of our imaginations with nary a care for how silly we appeared to those who were not brave enough to traverse the terrain of Mt. Doom.

For just that moment, that staircase became the most perilous mountain on earth and, led by Jimmy, we eventually made our way to the top — a triumph in its own right. Thanks to Jimmy’s eccentricity and imaginative nature, what is otherwise a ridiculous story of five twenty-something college guys giggling and playing on those stairs like 6-year old boys became, for us, an epic tale of a life-and-death mountain climb in search for a mysterious, mystical prize. That night, we weren’t just a bunch of housemates being dorks on the stairs. We were a band of brothers ready to push ourselves and our fellow companions to the top of the world.

In the end, despite finally reaching the summit of Mt. Doom, aka The Top of the Stairs, Jimmy and his company were unable to locate the legendary Magma Rock. But in a weird way, those stairs — that magma-hoarding mountain of doom — reminded us that oftentimes, the journey is more important than the destination. And, perhaps more importantly, good friendship is indispensable on any journey in life. We’re all searching for our own “Jimmy’s Magma Rock,” whatever it may be, but it’s important to surround yourself with the right people while you take that journey. And sometimes, it takes a moment of childlike silliness and inspired imagination to remind us of those very real truths.

I am currently serving in the US army with 1st brigade 1st armored division out of Fort Bliss, TX, and yes, I have a big hat.  We are scheduled to deploy in support of Operation Enduring Freedom later this year.  My search for Jimmy’s legendary, mysterious Magma Rock will continue in the mountains of Afghanistan.  My new journey will once again be perilous, but I’ll be surrounded by the right people and I know I’ll be comforted with the memories of my Alpha Delt brothers back home. The friendship and values we built on those stairs that night so many years ago will forever endure time and space.

But that is a story for another time…

Joshua Schulz ’05