Nationals Visits Mississippi State

By: Robert Bember
National Advisor

I don’t want to write this blog. It’s not because I’m busy. Alaska decided to come down to Fort Worth and dump snow and ice on the Metroplex and all the Super Bowl hoopla, so it’s not like my Texan driving skills are going to get me out of the house/office any time soon. I just don’t want to relive my visit to Mississippi State.

I landed in Jackson, Miss. at noon Monday and was picked up by Vice President Bill Gilbert. We grabbed a bite to eat and made the two-hour drive to Starkvegas talking about anything from BYX to Jesus to College Football. It’s a safe bet that if you spend two hours with me, all three topics will come up in some form or fashion, sometimes linked together in some awesome metaphor or analogy that makes sense to me and no one else. But that’s ok.

Bill has served in student government for much of his time at Mississippi State. He said that much of what he does for BYX now he has already done for the student government, which gives him a leg up on most first-time officers. He’s moved their Island Party to the fall. His plan is that scheduling it on a Friday before a home football game will increase the turnout at the event, which I think is a great strategy.

I met with Pledge Captain Bubba Bowen once I got to Starkville. The Omicron Chapter tried to put on a spring rush, but decided it would be better for the chapter and the interested potential pledges to wait until the fall for pledgeship. But Bubba and his pledge team haven’t spent any time sulking at not reaching their lofty goals for spring pledgeship. Instead they’ve turned their attention to the fall.

Listening to Bubba talk about recruiting gets me all jacked up, even if his approach is modeled after the likes of Nick Saban and Bill Clinton. I’m not a fan of either to say the least, but I’ll cut Bubba some slack because he has some awesome ideas. He plans to recruit “ferociously” and make sure that as many freshman men as possible know about BYX before they set foot on campus. I want to bottle up whatever Bubba is on and give it to all my pledge captains.

I grabbed a bite to eat with President Hunter Upton. Like Bubba, he is a second-year officer. They both provide some additional stability to a very capable officer body. All the officers I met with spoke so highly of each other. Hunter’s organizational skills and even-keel nature are great attributes for a president to possess. He leads well, and he, as well as the rest of the officer body, is very mindful of the input of the rest of the chapter. It was great to spend time talking to a brother that shares a similar passion to my own of growing boys into the godly men we’re called to be.

Chapter was cool because Mississippi State is the first campus I’m making my second visit to. It gave me a chance to meet up with the past officers and see how they’re enjoying life as active members. I once again shared my testimony with the guys since I didn’t speak on my first visit to Starkville.

Afterwards, we headed to Hunter’s apartment to hang out with any members that wanted to stop by. Bubba brought over a half-baked cookie log while former Pledge Captain Conner Jones provided an obscene amount of queso. I’d like to believe the brothers came to hang out with me, but I know better than that. They wanted the free food. It was great chance to hang out and get to know more of the men of the Omicron Chapter.

Unfortunately, Tuesday didn’t go as well. I felt like death and didn’t leave the Holiday Inn Express until dinner time, which was short-lived and all around a bad idea. On top of that, the Metroplex was covered in a sheet of ice, so even if I felt well enough to get to the airport, there was no telling when my flight would leave. Fortunately, by the grace of God, my flight was only delayed half an hour and I survived the two-hour trip to the airport.

I still consider myself blessed to have been able to spend time with the Mississippi State Chapter. While I was stuck in bed, I received numerous texts from the brothers encouraging me. Hunter skipped class to pick up some much-needed medicine for me. It was an awful day, but it was an opportunity to learn more about an outstanding chapter. The visit definitely didn’t go how I drew it up, but God is still good.

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