This week I discovered that Texas is not the only state that experiences bi-polar weather. If you’ve been in Texas long enough you have had one of those mornings where you go outside layered in clothes prepared for the cold, then by noon you head out for lunch and begin to sweat before you can even make it to your car, as you leave to go home it’s raining, and at night when you check the forecast for the weekend it’s cold and rainy again with a chance of sleet and snow. Seriously…
So, maybe Missouri wasn’t quite that dramatic, but it was much more frigid than I prefer. That’s why I live in the south. Fortunately for me, I did not have to venture into the frozen tundra alone. Jason Hoyt, President and COO of Beta Upsilon Chi, accompanied me for yet another great chapter visit.
After leaving the t-shirt-and-shorts weather comforts of DFW, we were welcomed by single digit temperatures in what might be the smallest airport in America. However, the men of the Sigma Chapter offered us a warm greeting as President Adam Tilley gave me the campus tour. We passed the legendary Columns of Mizzou, visited the recently renovated Student Center, and finished up at the campus Rec center, which they told me is rated top 5 in the country.
When I saw the lazy river, state of the art weight room, and a black light room for spin classes, I was convinced of its top 5 status. I kid you not. They had a pitch-black room, complete with jungle-themed paintings on the wall, decked out with black lights and filled with people wearing neon riding stationary exercise bikes. I guess that’s what it takes to get students motivated to stay fit these days.
Before chapter meeting, Jason and I cheered on the BYX intramural basketball team. But apparently we didn’t cheer loud enough because the men lost on both courts. However, the guys did just come off a championship victory in flag football, which is the only sport that really matters anyway.
That night, the guys were looking sharp at formal meeting. Both Jason and I had the opportunity to encourage the members of the Sigma Chapter. I gave my talk on the importance of brotherhood, the value that the senior members of the group bring to the fraternity and reminded them of the duty that each man has in maintaining lifelong relationships with their brothers. Jason shared the history of the Sigma Chapter and reemphasized how invaluable it is to invest in our brothers’ lives.
Chapter meeting came to a close with an interesting game of “Who Tweeted What?” where different members’ twitter posts were displayed on the projector and the chapter had to decide to whom the quote belonged. To give you an idea of the diversity of this group, some of the tweets included, “Can someone tell me why there are socks in my sink?” “You know smoke follows beauty baby,” and my favorite was a post that had something to do with a bluegrass version of Rebecca Black’s Friday. For the sake of America, I hope that no such song actually exists.
The next day was full of meetings with each of the officers, the spring pledges and a handful of other members, old and new. This group of guys is in no shortage of creative and enthusiastic men. I had the privilege of meeting a handful of exceptional brothers. Landon Chard, Connor Carr and, future COR member, Daniel Bristow are just a few of the guys that stood out. These men, along with many others, have the kind of passion and drive that keep this fraternity growing and exceeding expectations. BYX at Mizzou has been gaining momentum each semester and they are showing no signs of slowing down.
Jason and I were given a special treat by one the chapter’s most dynamic members, D’Andre McKenzie. McKenzie is an active member of BYX and also belongs to the Mizzou Tiger football team. We got a tour of their impressive athletic training facilities, football locker room and indoor field. As it began to snow that night, we met up with a group of BYX guys at the Shack to watch Mizzou get worked by Georgia on the court. It was a rough game, but thankfully I was kept entertained by D’Andre as he got nearly every guy in his vicinity to edit his English paper.
It was great to see the strength of the relationships between all of the guys. I could tell by the way they interacted with and treated one another that they have a genuine love for their brothers. These men are actively living out biblical community as they battle their way through the challenges of college together.
This is the kind of brotherhood that makes BYX special. It is men who are willing to suffer through hard times together, to share each other’s grief and stress, to be there for encouragement and prayer, and to enjoy times of blessing and success. We make up such a unique group full of different ideas and opinions, yet when Christ is the center we stand united. I was reminded of that on my trip this week.
Before we wrapped up our adventure in Missouri, we visited the new BYX house currently in the works that will house 17 members next fall. While I certainly envy all of the fun that will be had in a home full of BYX bros, I want no part in the plethora of dirty dishes, scattered laundry and foul smells that come with it. Good luck to you brave souls.
This visit was one of my favorites so far. I enjoyed my time with the exec members and I was able to offer my parting advice and encouragement just before Jason and I headed back to DFW. The officers of the Sigma Chapter have a lot of work to do in the coming months. Brotherhood Retreat, Formal, Island Party and Fall recruitment are just a few of the items on their agenda.
This will prove to be a defining year for the men of Mizzou BYX as they strive to break into the Greek community, compete for quality pledge members year-round and constantly look for areas of improvement in everything that they do. I have the utmost faith in these men and the leadership of the officers, and I expect nothing but great things for the future.