McGhee Tyson Airport in Knoxville, TN isn’t known for much outside of being about 35 paces long from terminal to front door, except, of course, when BYX Nationals comes to town. You see, a tradition has developed, forged in the hearts of two men, which replaces a mundane 35-pace stroll with a rambunctious eruption of joy and gibberish. And on this day, National President & COO Jason Hoyt and National Director & CDO Brian Lee got to witness the mayhem for themselves.
I have excellent relationships with many of the brothers at Tennessee, but my relationship with Chaplain Preston Morris is on a different level of absurd. Each time I fly to Knoxville to visit the Alpha Zeta Chapter, he violently volunteers to pick me up from the airport. He waits near the front entrance until eye contact can be established between us and slowly begins to rise from his seat. Imagine the face of intrigue when chocolate cake is mentioned and you have our expressions as we approach each other.
When the distance between us is just right, about 10 yards or so, the thunder is released and madness ensues. I slam my bag aggressively on the floor and begin to shout. Nobody is quite sure what I shout, but it sounds something like a combination of Borat and Hillbilly. We embrace and continue on shouting hysterically. Sometimes we play the air piano, sometimes we pull out the famed Tennessee BYX “clap slap,” sometimes we skip around franticly and sometimes we act like bears.
Then we go to Sweet P’s BBQ and Soul House and annihilate some BBQ burritos. And mac n cheese. And banana pudding. Of note was Brian Lee’s commentary when he said, “[Preston] was trying to describe it to me, but nothing could have prepared me for THAT.”
Unbelievable brotherhood and unity is on display in Knoxville, as you can see. Brothers connect with each other on the goofball level, but also on a deep, spiritual level. They love tossing a football together, playing video games together, going to sporting events together, studying together, serving the community together, being vulnerable together, worshipping together and just sitting around farting together.
This kind of stellar brotherhood has led to rapid expansion and an explosion of meaningful campus involvement. People around the campus know and love the BYX guys because they see that they are genuine in everything they do.
They understand the purpose of Beta Upsilon Chi Fraternity. Going to a mixer at a sorority house is important because we have an opportunity to love those ladies like not many others do in the Greek community. Asking the tough questions in cell group is important because that’s what promotes sharpening and development of our men. They get the vision on a chapter-wide level and they showcase it with conviction.
On a national level, the Tennessee BYX guys are always looking to connect with brothers from around the country. They travel well for football season, they host men from other chapters, they have sent representatives to COR Leadership Retreat in both of its first two years and they roll out the red carpet when I come to town. I feel both respected as a leader and welcomed as a brother at this chapter.
All this is why Jason, Brian and I made the trip to present to the Alpha Zeta Chapter their official charter! The super-secret ceremony went off without a hitch and the celebration was one to remember. Many pictures were taken and many hugs were given. In fact, by a long shot, I’ve never thought it possible to have as much fun taking pictures and hugging dudes as I had that night.
A charter is far from a license to idle and should be received humbly, in awe of the blessing and provision of our Lord Jesus Christ. These brothers have plenty of growing to do and plenty of wrongs to right, but they are staring at a bright future if they continue to pursue excellence humbly as they have thus far. For now, it is time to celebrate and enjoy what we’ve been given at UTK.
Thanks for another great visit to Tennessee, my brothers! Go Vols.