Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A dandy Vandy Monday evening

Dear reader, it's probably evident already to you that yours truly has a deep affection for the University here in Nashville that is my wife's undergrad alma mater and my graduate alma mater. Yes, Vanderbilt is held and cherished deep in my heart. And truly I relish any visit to the woodsy campus, or any event associated with Vandy, including any athletic contest the VU Commodores win.

Well, Monday evening I went to Gamma-Delta Zeta, the chapter of my fraternity, Lambda Chi Alpha, on the Vandy campus. Due to the weather being so pleasant, when I walked into the house there weren't any tables and chairs set up and Brothers eating supper. They were all out back on their deck, munching French-bread pizza and garden salad. Having not yet had supper I served myself a plate and joined them.

A major item of the chapter meeting that followed was the Bluegrass Conclave that Gamma-Delta Zeta will be hosting this upcoming weekend. Indeed, the Conclave is the main reason I attended. Lambda Chi Alpha nationally is divided into regions called conclaves. My alma mater's LCA chapter, Epsilon-Gamma Zeta at Idaho, was in the Pacific Northwest Conclave. While I lived in the house on 720 Deakin Ave. in Moscow, I went to two Pac NW conclaves, one at Oregon State and the other at Montana State.

The Bluegrass Conclave includes all zetas in Kentucky and Tennessee plus a few surrounding states. I probably would not have been very interested in attending this one, since my memory is that conclave meetings are primarily for undergrads, or "Actives" as we Lambda Chis call them. But this Year of Our Lord 2009 is the Centennial of the founding of our Brotherhood! I knew from our on-line magazine, the Cross & Crescent, that there will be celebratory events up in Indianapolis, where our international headquarters are located (as are the headquarters of my denomination, the Disciples of Christ). But chances of my being able to go to those are slim and none. And the C & C indicated that regional conclaves would also acknowledge the 100 years of Brotherhood with various activities.

So I was pumped up to be in this 2009 meeting of the Bluegrass Conclave! Then Brother Jeremy, who's the active in charge of the Conclave meeting, got up to speak about it. At one point he spoke about some Brothers (of Gamma-Delta) being "ambivalent" about the upcoming event. Later he told me personally that what he meant was along the lines of "stressed-out" by the pressures of hosting the event and setting it up. But yours truly took it in a more literal sense.

When there was opportunity, I asked to speak as a LCA alumnus. I asked the assembled Brothers, about 80-85 in number, how many of them were history majors or minors. A few raised their hand. I shared with them that I was a history minor at U of I, and that history was one of my dearest loves. I encouraged them all to be interested in and excited about the Conclave. I concluded that "This won't be any ordinary Conclave; it's our CENTENNIAL Conclave! One hundred years of Brotherhood! So brothers, let's get excited about it, and let's show that Gamma-Delta Zeta is the BEST Zeta in the state, if not the nation!"

I don't know if I got these undergrad fraternity brothers of mine jacked up, but my brief exhortation sure got me jacked up!

After the meeting I went out to West End Avenue to catch the bus home. And I put on my headphones and tuned in to Charlie Mattos on AM-560 and the Lady Commodores NCAA Women's Tournament game against Kansas State, in Albuquerque. This pitted the #4 team (VU) against the #5 (KSU), so it promised to be an exciting contest.

And so it was, so it was!

The first half was very, very close, with KSU seeming to have a slight edge. But at halftime the Lady 'Dores only trailed by a point. I had to get a laundry load done,so I left the broadcast for awhile. By the time I returned to Charlie's broadcast, the Black & Gold women were in a comfortable lead. Indeed, for a long time the two teams simply traded baskets, and Vandy would lead by ten, then by eight, then by ten, then by eight. . . .

In all the excitement of the women's game, Vandy had two Seniors who were stellar. Jennifer Risper scored a career-high 27 points. And Kristina Wirth, whose name has been prominent all this season, added 25. With their leadership by example these two got the entire team working together to put away K-State, win the game and advance to the Women's Sweet Sixteen!

Go, Vanderbilt! I love y'all! Brothers in the Bond, women hoopsters and all the rest!

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