Ever since the 2010 NFL draft, Rob Gronkowski has shown the world his true potential on and off the field. His persona is seen as a gimmick to some, but it’s hard to deny the personality that also shines through Gronk’s shenanigans. He lives fast with nonstop action and looks ruggedly handsome as he does it. His humor (and the fact that he’s 6 feet 6 inches tall) oozes charisma from his pores; even when wearing Pit Vipers and muscle tees, Gronk can charm an entire room. Many are thankful for the levity Gronk has brought to the world of sports and pop culture, including myself. However, his lifestyle is almost a direct reflection of the typical frat boy’s fantasy land.
The Stereotypical Frat Boy
So, what exactly is the stereotypical frat boy? According to Halloween costumes, it’s Vineyard Vines, backward flat brims, unbuttoned Hawaiian shirts and lots of parties. This is not too far from the truth — all stereotypes come from somewhere, after all. College Weekly does a wonderful segment on YouTube that dives straight into the major frats at the top party schools in the country. This is commonly done through frat house tours. Basically, someone takes a beer-stained GoPro and follows two white guys through a massive house of Xboxes, shirtless dudes, ping pong tables and tributes to “historical” frat members (this tour from Florida State’s Pike chapter sums it up nicely). My personal favorite moment is the glorious reveal of a brother’s Porsche, which is parked in the handicap spot.
Gronkowski, as you can assume, has plenty of his own Greek life influence. He attended the University of Arizona to continue his football career and, more importantly, his career of absolutely banging parties. On his “Conan” appearance, Gronk said UA came to his attention during his sophomore year of high school when he toured the school’s campus with his brother Chris. He loved the weather and the campus. Later in the interview, Gronk describes the raging party house that he and his brother owned, specifically the soapy slip and slide that became an afterparty sensation. It all started once Gronk’s older brother “took the soap and started spraying it everywhere in the house,” as one typically does on a Friday night. The story is glamorous and enticing; the image of sliding through a house drunk stirred up a bit of excitement in my stomach. Gronk had the crowd hanging on his every word, all while wearing a Monster Energy T-shirt and a boatload of hair gel.
After his collegiate partying career, Gronk brought the same energy and pizazz to his professional football career. Swiftly carting his 6-foot-6-inch, 265-pound body around the field, Gronk has hauled in 90 touchdowns and 8,739 yards, an astonishing record for a tight end. That equals to about 90 Gronk Spikes — his legendary trademark celebration of spiking (or smashing) the ball into the end zone. Watching some of Gronk’s best touchdowns is truly hilarious because he always has so much fun. Whether it’s a wiggle in the hips, a shimmy in the shoulders or a reenactment of the changing of the guard, Gronkowski brings the energy to the field. At the moment, Gronk is on the chase for his fifth Super Bowl ring, which could very well be within his grasp, thanks to the unpredictability of the current NFL season.
A Family Activity
Gronk comes from a massive family of five brothers; ironically enough, you could call the Gronkowskis their own mini fraternity. Chris, Dan, Gordie, Glenn and Rob all played collegiate and professional sports at some point in their lives, bringing the Gronkowski special sauce everywhere they went. They have a YouTube channel called The Gronks, where they do anything under the sun. Some of their recent videos have been titled “Gronk Powerbombs Random Fan” and “Check Out the Gronk Bus,” and all of it can be put under the category of frat party shenanigans. Judging by the abundance of Pit Vipers, the whole family can clearly have a good time, not just Rob.
In 2018 — a year before his (short-lived) retirement from the NFL — Gronk and Shaquille O’Neal had an absolutely eccentric dance-off. In a club packed to the brim with sweaty and barely-clothed bodies, Gronk and O’Neal went crazy to Lil Jon’s song “Get Low.” Gronk immediately strips his shirt off in this clip (NSFW) and boogies his butt off, dropping low and jumping higher than his blood alcohol content. At one point, he somehow manages to get on O’Neal’s shoulders. To put that into perspective, O’Neal is 7 feet 1 inch tall. In one graceful and inebriated leap, a 13-foot-7-inch monster named ShaGronk O’Nealski formed before our eyes. It’s a rocking good time for Gronk in Miami; he captures the same energy our beloved Florida State Pike brothers brought to the table.
Gronk has clearly spent a lot of time partying in Florida, but nothing comes close to his worldwide event “Gronk Beach.” In 2020, he decided to put together the event of the summer, morphing Florida’s Treasure Island into a massive banger with music, alcohol, beach performers and mosh pits. According to Medium Rare, the event had four billion media impressions, making it almost as popular as the upcoming Super Bowl. Watching clips from the event is magnificently exciting, especially when you see Bill Belichick make an appearance. The legendary Patriots head coach, who was 68 at the time, pulled up in khakis and a fresh-pressed button-down.
Greek life is nothing new to American culture, so witnessing Gronkowski stunt his way through life is not exactly surprising. Fraternities and sororities are all over the country, inventing new versions of keg stands, drinking games and “Thirsty Thursdays.” Yes, they all know how to have a damn good time, but how sustainable is it, in reality? Is there a cost? Gronk’s superstar lifestyle makes it seem at the tip of our fingertips, but few will ever really reach his point of stardom. Muscles, women, alcohol and Super Bowl rings are enticing, but let’s keep things in a realistic perspective here. In reality, it may not be all that it’s cracked up to be.