By Nick England
Often times something will exit Jason Hoyt’s mouth and it will no longer come as a surprise to me. Sometimes it will be something along the lines of, “A&M football used to have a great team.” Or, “I don’t want to go to that baseball game.” And one time he came in and told me, “The BYX chapter at UF is going to be your new chapter.” I was a little taken aback by this one, in part because it had nothing to do with sports. It was not only what he said, but the way he said it caught me off guard. It was like when you were a kid and you used to clean your room by shoving everything in the closet. There always happened to be one last, stray toy that didn’t get thrown in there. So you would open the door quickly, throw the toy in, and close it before everything fell out. For some of us, this ritual most likely remains a weekly ordeal.
So I booked a flight to Tampa International Airport because Gainesville is so far removed from civilization. On the flight out there I had an invigorating conversation from a Gator fan that had relocated to the Texas panhandle…double whammy. But not to worry, he flirted with the flight attendant for a while and she gave him free beer. Which did not solve anything. We landed and I met Adam Kronebusch, current President, and we drove to Gainesville. Adam and I had a great talk about where the chapter is headed and some ways to continue to improve things. We arrived in Gainesville in time for dinner and I had the opportunity to meet some of the members. Whenever I go on a chapter visit, I always like to eat at the restaurants that are unique to their college town. So naturally, they took me to Chili’s which is a restaurant unique only to extra-terrestrials and Dennis Rodman, not that there’s a difference. Nevertheless, we had a great time at dinner and got to know a few of the members. Afterward, we went to Adam’s apartment who lives along with Tyler (Chaplain), Tim (Secretary) and Dean (Pledge Captain) and we played video games and hung out. I attempted to play Call of Duty but ended up getting owned over and over again. So I challenged them to a game a little more from my era, (1996 A.D.) called Mario Kart 64 and laid the hurt, so to speak. And I went back to my hotel room a bit more victorious than I had expected.
The next day, I went to church with a few of the guys and then got to go to lunch with a few more of them. This was a great time and was followed by an officer meeting. It was very evident to me in their officer meeting how much these men care about one another and how well organized they are in planning for upcoming events. The rest of the day was spent meeting with officers and continuing to push each of them towards growth as a fraternity.
My last full day there I had a great time walking around campus. I wandered around on my own for a while, and even walked into the woods near campus. Growing up in Texas and what not, I was not used to the type of wilderness found in Florida. It reminded me a lot of Jurassic Park and I’m fairly certain I encountered a few mosquitoes that could take out a pterodactyl. I walked so far back into the woods that I came upon a swamp and if I had stuck around until it was dark, probably would not have lived to tell the tale. But I walked out of there, back towards campus and met up with a few more officers that day. We passed out information on campus about rush and had a great rush party that evening. All of the members met up at the intramural fields and we had a good number of potential pledges come to the BYX Root Beer Kegger. Fun was had by all as we threw around the footballs and frisbees and consumed inordinate amounts of root beer!