Monday, April 8, 2013

Nationals Visits Texas Tech University

By Robert Bember
Senior Communications Advisor

The Weather Channel recently held its own March Madness bracket to determine the city with the toughest weather. In the finals, Lubbock, Texas is duking it out with the frozen hellscape known as Fairbanks, Alaska for the title of city with the toughest weather. Currently, Lubbock is winning in a landslide (pun intended) with 65.85 percent of the votes. So I shouldn’t have been surprised when the lovely spring weather I had been enjoying went into hiding upon my arrival to Lubbock last week.

This semester’s chapter visit to the Eta Chapter was my sixth and final trip to Texas Tech. I started working with them in fall 2010, my first semester on staff. I will serve over only two chapters in the fall as I turn my attention towards more communications, marketing and fundraising projects. Though I enjoy developing BYX from in front of the computer with these projects, I will miss visiting the men of the Eta Chapter and the many other chapters and individuals I have had to step away from in recent semesters.

After a pair of one-on-ones Monday afternoon, I met with four of the officers for their officer meeting before chapter. Two officers had yet to return from the Easter holiday. Tech didn’t have classes that Monday. We discussed the upcoming events, including the chapter’s inaugural date auction. They ended up raking in over $3,200 in their first effort. I couldn’t be more proud.

Following officer meeting, President Ryan Williams served us a “home-cooked” meal. And by “home-cooked,” I mean he picked up rotisserie chickens from the store and heated up canned corn and beans. I’m not complaining though. I appreciated the hospitality of the officer team.

As expected, chapter meeting was an emotional one. The brothers made me feel appreciated and respected throughout the evening. They gave me their undivided attention during my final chapter address. They also had me sit on the dating panel they held in preparation for date auction. The brothers showed much maturity and wisdom with the ladies as many brothers from the audience and the panel contributed great insights.

The officers gathered all the brothers around me to pray over me before closing chapter meeting. More brothers tracked me down after chapter to thank me and pray for me individually. I couldn’t have asked for a stronger showing of support and appreciation than what the men of the Eta Chapter showed me.

I hung out with about 15 brothers at Chili’s after chapter meeting, including future National Staff member Scott Bryan. Scott will move to beautiful Fort Worth, which likely didn’t make the field for toughest weather city, in July and began traveling to numerous local chapters in the fall. After serving with Scott during his tenure as an officer and seeing the way his brothers admire him, I have no doubt he will be a huge asset to our staff and the chapters he serves.

On Tuesday, I countered the cold weather and West Texas wind by hiding in the Student Union for seven hours. I arrived around lunch time to two tables full of brothers. The men congregate daily in the same location in the dining area of the union. Many brothers came and went throughout the two hours I spent there. Officers typically take up the bulk of my time, so I enjoyed sitting down with numerous brothers serving and being served by BYX outside of the officer team.

I had my remaining four one-on-ones with the officers the rest of the afternoon. The Eta Chapter elected an impressive group of officers. Throughout my conversations, I could see specific skills and character attributes that suit them well for their positions. The Eta Chapter is in great hands.

I met the officers at Gardski’s near campus to watch the Astros and Rangers face off. The Astros will likely exemplify futility most of the year, but I will stand by them. It wasn’t their night though. A couple officers from Houston were there to share in the Astros ineptitude with me.

When I proposed watching the game together, I didn’t expect Yu Darvish to take a perfect game into the ninth inning. I was conflicted. It’s not every day you see someone throw a perfect game, and I like the Rangers, but you never want it to be your team on the wrong end of a perfect game. Fortunately Marwin Gonzalez cemented his legacy by shooting a hard ground ball through Darvish’s legs, ending the perfect game with two outs in the ninth inning and making it slightly less embarrassing to be an Astros fan. All I could do was laugh, but the Rangers fans didn’t see the humor.

Walking away from a chapter that I have invested 3 years into is no easy task, especially when I’ve seen that chapter go from 40 to 100 members, but I know that the Lord won’t stop advancing that chapter just because I’m moving on. I’m a miniscule part of their success. The men in the chapter have a great vision and drive to make BYX an elite fraternity on the campus of Texas Tech. I won’t get to see the next few steps, but I’m so grateful for the strides I have seen and the men I have gotten to know. My prayers will continue to go out to the Eta Chapter.