By Nick England
It’s official. BYX has crossed the Rockies, into the desert and made a Phase 3 training visit in Tucson, Arizona. It wasn’t easy going through New Mexico to get there, but flying made it bearable. Jason and I landed in Tucson where Kyle Liggitt picked us up and drove us around a little bit. Contrary to my assumption, Kyle’s last name is not pronounced “legit”. But we didn’t hold that against him. What we did hold against him was the fact that his car smelled like a small child had consumed 9 cherry flavored popsicles and proceeded to vomit them in the backseat. So naturally, instead of saying something, Jason and I just sat there and held our breath.
While in route to food, we found out that Jason had never been to the great state of Arizona and other than State Bill 1070, Kurt Warner and the Eagles song, “Take it Easy” he really had no idea what he was getting himself into. Then we found out that Jason had never really visited the desert before, which was another culture shock when he found out that saguaro cacti are not just found in cartoons. Following a riveting discussion of Tucson culture we grabbed a bite to eat at Gentle Ben’s (yes, like the bear) because the two hour time difference meant that we left DFW at 3:10 and landed in Arizona at 3:25. However, our bodies were pretty sure it was 5:30. While we ate, Kyle had a chance to share the updates with the chapter and some of the new developments with the men. Jason and I had a good time going over basics with him about what the visit would look like as well as learning how we can challenge the guys. After first dinner, we went to our hotel, checked in and pretty much got some work done while we digested our food in preparation for second dinner. Oh, and I tried to get the smell of cherries out of my hair.
Around 8:30 (10:30 Central time) Kyle picked us up from our hotel to meet a few of the men for dinner at an Italian restaurant called Oregano’s. We had a great time with the men getting to know a few of them over some great Italian food. They had a few questions for us but overall we had a good time getting to know them. We ate up and decided that since it was about midnight Central time, we should go to bed. Kyle was in route taking us to the hotel when all of a sudden we see a police car pull out after spotting him speeding. We all sat there wondering whether or not he was actually going to get pulled over and the the lights came on. Now Kyle, of course, was freaking out. Getting pulled over by the fuzz isn’t exactly a resume builder when the BYX National staff comes to visit you. I believe it only took him three questions to actually ask Kyle, “Why does it smell sour in here?” Of course Jason and I laughed and laughed which made it seem like we were in on some practical joke. But the way his car smelled was no joke.
The next day Jason and I tried to sleep in a little bit, but because our bodies had not yet adjusted to the time change, we woke up much earlier than we intended. We prepared for the day and Kyle picked us up from the hotel to begin our meetings. The meetings with each officer went well that day. One of the aspects that make U of A different from other schools we’ve visited was that none of the men aside from Kyle had heard of BYX before. As a result, much of the day was spent telling them about what BYX really looks like when it’s carried out well. It was so cool to see the gears moving and the lights turn on in their heads when we explained what a BYX chapter looks like when it’s fulfilling its purpose. We hit some speed bumps with commitments from some of the officers, but it was great to see some of the other men pick up the torch and step in to the vacant officer roles. And so ended a long and productive day. Jason and I proceeded to get in bed at what felt like 3 in the morning.
The next day, we woke up early to the smell of cherries pulling up in front of the hotel. Jason and I arrived at the airport and boarded the plane. I’m fairly certain that the people I sat next to assumed I was involved in some horrendous sno-cone stand accident and was never able to wash the smell out.