Normally, the worst part of traveling to Yale is having to go to the very back of Terminal E (so the last gate in the back of the airport) at DFW and then having to race to change terminals in Charlotte (which I surprisingly didn’t have to do this time.) The five hours in the air and hour-long drive from Hartford to New Haven, CT doesn’t bother me as much. And in September, it’s not butt cold up there either, so that’s not a problem. No, on this day the hardest part of getting to Connecticut was waking up at 3 a.m. for a 5:15 a.m. flight after only sleeping a few hours. What I’m doing may resemble complaining, but I chose to do this because I knew that the extra time I get with Yale BYX because of it would be more than worth it. That’s how much I love visiting these fellas.
Things started simple enough, with three officer one-on-ones. I worked through chapter communication items with Secretary Tanner Allread, polished up the chapter budget with Treasurer Tobi Akindoju and had an awesome brainstorming session about new ideas for brotherhood events and cell groups with Chaplain Kevin Ig.
Little did I know, however, that this would soon turn into the most physically active chapter visit I had ever been on. But not before enjoying a delicious burger at Prime 16. Mine was a cheddar burger with Canadian bacon and a fried egg. If you’ve been following my Yale visit chronicles, you’ll notice that we did not eat at the Shake Shack this time, and I therefore had no digestive problems. Amen.
Immediately after that, naturally, was a mile-long jog to a field on campus where we played capture the flag for two hours more than I should have been playing capture the flag after eating a huge burger. I came to play with my normal level of intensity. At one point, I accidentally collided with a girl while pursuing Tanner. Fortunately, someone caught it and made it into a vine. More fortunately, I checked on her and she’s doing just fine.
I went home, showered, watched Ohio State get embarrassed by VA Tech and slept for 10 hours. Amen. The next morning, I went to City Church with a few brothers and a handful of potentials. The worship was good and the teaching was better. Then we went to brunch and I had kugel for the first time. It’s a noodle dish with cottage cheese, apple sauce and raisins. It was surprisingly scrumptious. Also, I’ve never had better whole grain pancakes in my life.
The carb loading would pay off, as my sore old body was in for another beating that day: a three-mile walk to a hill-mountain-plateau thing where we hiked to the top and then played a game of pickup football. The hike was arduous and my pickup team lost, but it was all made better as I followed the Dolphins game on the way up, in which they walloped the Pats. Amen.
As we made the walk/jog back to town, we saw some turkeys and chickens chilling on the sidewalk and in someone’s driveway. That’s fun. President Justin Riner and I went to grab some pizza for a pizza and muffin brotherhood event that night. Yep, no Yale visit is complete without a few games of muffin. I won one game, but fell victim to brother Javier Duren’s vicious bows in a few more. He plays varsity basketball, no fair.
I wrapped up my officer one-on-ones with Justin and Pledge Captain Victor Hicks. This semester, since Yale does not allow freshmen to pledge fraternities in their first semester, Yale BYX will be holding a semester-long rush and forming a pledge class in December to begin pledgeship in January. So far the calendar for these events is coming along well and the brothers are starting to buy into the vision. It will take an effort from the entire chapter to build relationships with freshmen this semester to give them a glimpse into the brotherhood BYX offers.
The last thing on my agenda before getting back on a plane was chapter meeting. This week, the officers had planned a portion of chapter as “open,” allowing potentials pledges in to see how we do things, and a portion exclusively for brothers.
We played an icebreaker game in which the room split up into groups and were given 5 random words. With these words, the group was to come up with a minute-long skit and compete with the other groups. Some of the words included “hot sauce,” “legs day,” “Anthony Davis’ unibrow,” and “Kate Middleton.” Needless to say, hilarity ensued and ice was broken. I gave an energetic pitch to the new guys and then Vic gave a rundown of how rush would look this semester.
Once the potentials left, I gave a challenge and exhortation to the brothers. This chapter is young and there is much work to do to get BYX where we want it. This means that the men must be invested, selflessly so, understanding that they are in a foundation-laying period in this chapter’s history. This also means that there is no reason to be discouraged, but to know that the expectation is that this growth will not happen overnight.
Overall, the men of this chapter are always a joy to be around and the temperature didn’t drop below 60. Amen. It was another successful visit to the northeast, capped by optimism for the future. And another early flight Tuesday morning. See ya next time, Connecticut.