Nationals Visits Texas State

By Robert Bember
National Advisor 

Day 3. Visit 2. I left my chapter visit with the Alpha Chapter encouraged and headed south from Austin to visit the Zeta Chapter at Texas State.

The Zeta Chapter has given me plenty of headaches since I came on staff a year-and-a-half ago, and even a couple stomach aches thanks to one trip with them to San Antonio, but we’ve made a ton of progress, and I couldn’t be much prouder of these men for the things that are going on within the chapter.
The biggest criticism I’ve had of the Zeta Chapter is that they struggled to schedule events with sororities, but they’ve started to get some events with the ladies on the calendar. What may be even cooler is that the sororities are seeking out BYX in some cases. The men are learning how to throw fun parties, like the boat party mixer in Austin the weekend after I left.
The leadership is about night and day from the past. I have a ton of confidence in the men that are currently in office. They have strong leadership qualities, focus and enthusiasm that they are pouring into BYX. I think what gets me even more excited is the fact that five of the current officers will likely hold office again in the future. We have a young, core group of men in the Zeta Chapter that are excited to move BYX forward and beyond the struggles and shortcomings they’ve seen in the not-too-distant past. I believe in these men.
The one-on-ones that I’m having with the Texas State officers are changing as well. The determination and drive is written all over their face. You can hear the enthusiasm in their voices. Many of my conversations involve me trying to get men excited about their fraternity. This time I was the one that walked away from my talks with these men jacked up after hearing where they want to see this chapter go and where they think they can take it. I feel like the dark days are behind us, and I implored the chapter to buy into the same vision when I spoke Tuesday night at chapter meeting. The actives have to buy into this vision if we want this chapter to reach it’s potential.
The Zeta Chapter has a way of keeping me on my toes, and I mean that in a good way now. Although it wasn’t always in a good way. After all, I have started using a former presidents name as a verb meaning, “to get screwed over.” It hasn’t made it onto Urban Dictionary, but it’s a term commonly used by the staff. Former President Woogie Sanders is proud that he has been immortalized by my use of his name in my everyday vocabulary.
They always seem to throw me a curve ball and break me out of the normal routine of one-on-ones, meetings and meals. It makes for an exciting trip. Tuesday night after chapter, word started to spread that there was going to be a football game between the pledges and actives. The members started asking if I’d be joining. Duh. I felt like garbage, which is no different than any other day over the past six months, but if there was football to be played, then I was going to be a part of it.
I headed back to the hotel to change, all the while jamming my pre-game music of choice in the hotel room. I conveniently had my ankle braces and football cleats in the trunk of my car. I have a sporting goods store residing in my trunk.
The tension was palpable between the pledges and actives as we got set to take to duke it out on the gridiron. The members tried to get the pledges to put the pledge rock on the line, but they didn’t step up to the plate. And justifiably so. I was playing for the active team.
I was able to make my presence felt despite playing at much less than 100 percent. At quarterback, I tossed a pair of touchdowns. A series of penalties kept our offense from firing on all cylinders. While roaming the defensive backfield at safety, I managed to pick off a pair of balls, channeling the TCU BYX football teams of our glory years.
Wednesday evening, the men planned to grill out. They made it evident that my body wasn’t on college time anymore. The officers raved about Tomas Rincones’ fajitas that he was going to treat us to that night. Unfortunately, we didn’t take them off the grill until 11 p.m.
The party overflowed out of the apartment and into the park area in the middle of the apartment buildings. I thought to throw my new cornhole boards in my car/mobile sporting goods store, so we had a few good games. Pledge Trainer Andrew Nguyen and I were upset in the first game of the night by a pair of members. We got some volleyball games going and threw around some Frisbees and footballs too.
Most of the members and pledges showed up at the apartment complex. Even though it wasn’t an official event, the guys came out in force and were excited to spend time together. I had some great talks with the guys as we hung out. Overall, it was an awesome night.
When the cops showed up about midnight in response to a noise complaint, I decided it was time to hit the road. I was proud of my guys throwing a party worthy of being busted by the cops as a dry party. It wasn’t easy for me to leave these men. That’s rare. I’m normally ready to get away by the end of the visit and have some me time. I guess I’m just that excited about what the Lord is doing at Texas State, and I want to continue doing whatever I can for my brothers at the Zeta Chapter.
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