Perhaps one of my most anticipated visits of the semester was to LSU. I was pretty amped because the brothers had a slate of great events planned for the weekend, and I know they have great food down there in Louisiana. The most exciting part of this visit, however, was that I had the distinct honor of bringing the chapter the announcement that their chartership application had been approved!
I started the weekend with a few meetings with officers and brothers before getting to the annual BYX Choot ‘Em Bonfire, inspired by the TV show “Swamp People” and scheduled for the weekend LSU plays the Florida Gators. I quickly learned that most of those in attendance had more experience dressing like hillbillies than me and that jorts are definitely not just for Florida fans. President Nathan Macaluso told me that some brothers were hard at work that day chopping up over 30 pounds of pork, chicken and gator sausage for the two giant pots of jambalaya, which were to headline the event. Well, it was a headline for me; I ate 4 bowls.
Saturday, I was forced against my will to wear purple and gold. I was told I looked studly in it, but that only made it a little better. At their tailgate, BYX served breakfast tacos for a 2:30 p.m. game because they’re spoiled with night games at LSU and showing up for a tailgate at noon is considered early.
It was a beautiful day in Baton Rouge, made better by the fact that I got to see a handful of old friends from UF who had made the trip up, including one of my littles, Jacob Power. It was great being able to catch up with them, no matter the disgusting looks they gave me for being a turncoat.
Once inside the game, we sat back and watched the Gators shoot themselves in the foot repeatedly, then in the head later on to close the game. I looked the part of a Tiger fan, but my heart was in the right place, and it hurt. Fortunately, I had my little nearby for consolation hugs in the wake of turnovers and pitiful play calling. The infamous Death Valley was certainly a spectacle, but I’d like to see it lit up at night and become the atmosphere everyone fears.
Another day of meetings later, Monday held a huge surprise. Brother Chas Kelly got us into Tiger Stadium for an exclusive (and maybe a little illegal) tour! We got to see everything from the upper deck club to the SEC review booth. I remember thinking to myself in the club, “this is where the important people watch their peasants watch football.”
Finally, it was time for chapter meeting. After ritual, announcements and worship, it was my turn to speak. But first, thanks to the magic of video, Jason Hoyt had a word for the chapter. LSU has been working hard for five years to expand the reach of BYX to the campus and to foster deep, influential relationships among the brothers, so the National Staff and the Board of Directors saw fit to award them their charter, making them a more permanent fixture at LSU. The chartering ceremony will be held in the spring.
I saw brother after brother have the look of realization on their face as Jason got closer and closer to the official announcement, and finally, the room erupted in celebration. The rest of the video was drowned out, and I couldn’t say a word for a full five minutes.
They did it. They received their charter, indicating a degree of health and stability within the chapter. I congratulated the chapter and encouraged them to keep doing well the things that they do well. I also challenged them to transfer that same enthusiasm and energy that I saw that Monday night in celebration to forwarding the mission of BYX on LSU’s campus. This isn’t the finish line, but only the beginning. For the glory of the King, we labor with everything we have.