I returned to Lubbock this semester, as Pledge Captain Ben Bacon put it, like a dog to his vomit. I can say with great certainty that my experience with the Texas Tech Chapter was far better than that of the dog who became the subject of Proverbs 26:11.
Brother Carlton Shartle was kind enough to pick me up at the airport, and we grabbed a bite on the way to campus. Carlton was the first of a number of brothers I got to know on the trip outside of the officer team. Carlton had some great insights on the chapter and a heart hungry to see the men grow as Christ followers.
Brothers Alex Nunnery, Bowie Tomlinson and Cash Barker took time out of their day to talk about running for office in the future. These men had good ideas and a visible fervor for BYX. It was infectious. My meetings were stacked up one after the other after the other for the bulk of the trip, but the enthusiasm of the brothers (and caffeine) kept me going. I got a break from the student union building when I joined Brother David Swandt, who was a member of the Texas State Chapter before transferring to Tech, to roam campus and check out the 90s-themed Homecoming signs.
The Eta Chapter has seen a surge of involvement from within the chapter, and that was evident in meeting with these brothers. More and more brothers are stepping into chair and cell group roles. There were about ten cell group leaders in the spring, and that number has ballooned to 25 for the fall. The quantity and quality of leaders in the Eta Chapter right now has them moving in a great direction.
This uprising started with the officers. The six men in office are a huge blessing to the chapter and to me personally. All of our one-on-ones were great. Conversations hit any number of talking points from music and sports to Jesus and, of course, BYX business. The officers have a great grasp on their roles in the chapter and a ton of leadership skills. They have grown as individuals and continue to improve their camaraderie and effectiveness as a group. I couldn’t be more impressed with them.
After enjoying dinner Monday night at Spanky’s with President Ryan Williams, we headed to chapter meeting. With a cheesy grease brick in my belly, I spoke to the brothers on the importance of catching the vision of BYX and painting an accurate picture of the vision with your life. The brothers gave great encouragement and feedback on the talk. They also let me sit on a panel with the officers to answer a number of general questions. Plus, I got to rock my black suit and sweet new fraternity tie for formal chapter.
As part of Homecoming week, the chapter had a mixer after chapter meeting with the Sigma Phi Lambda at Main Event. Still wearing my dress shirt and tie, I looked like a brown-haired and un-promiscuous Barney Stinson as I joined some brothers for laser tag.
Bowie was dumbfounded that he was having the opportunity to play laser tag with his national advisor. He said it was the best moment of his time in BYX. I was equally dumbfounded (and encouraged) that he was so happy to have me team up with him for domination. I told him I hope his time in BYX gets better from here. I got my guns up and showed the Red Raiders how it’s done, coming out as the game’s high scorer. I wish the Frog football team’s performance in Lubbock was as good as mine. But I digress.
After a dinner with the officers on Tuesday, some brothers opened up their house for one last hangout before I left the next morning. I ended up getting beat in ping pong by Ryan, who played left-handed. Bowie avenged me shortly thereafter in a game of sting pong, in which the brother who lost the point lifted his shirt and the victor hit the ball at their exposed torse. Ryan walked away with a pair of bloody welts that looked more like paintball wounds.
The welcoming attitude shown by the brothers sticks with me. Any job gets easier when you know you’re valued, and the brothers of the Eta Chapter have always done a great job of building me up on my trips to Lubbock.