By Phillip Block
Fate did not seem to want me to go to LEAD this year. An accidental click and an inattentive eye led me to booking a flight for the next week, so in a pinch I resorted to taking the Greyhound from Indianapolis through Chicago to Minneapolis. The trip was a regular fiasco, with both the starting driver and the driver out of Chicago arriving an hour late, as well as the bus breaking down just an hour and a half from my destination in Minneapolis. In all that was eighteen hours of my life (the trip was only supposed to be twelve) that I will not be getting back, but at least I had finally arrived.
I had missed the first two breakout sessions of the day (Brothers Husk and Nicholson both gave me the highlights of what I had missed) but thankfully I was able to attend the Provincial Council meeting for the rest of the afternoon. While nothing extraordinary, it was still enlightening to see the higher levels of our Fraternity operate, as well as to put some faces to names. The regional meeting was in much of the same vein. As I had missed lunch, I had not seen the entire group assembled until we went to dinner in the ballroom. The number assembled there was immense and humbling; I had once thought having the entire chapter assembled was something impressive, but seeing a few dozen tables filled with Brothers was something entirely new. While I only knew two people at that entire event, I did not feel lost or alone. I was surrounded by family from all over the Midwest, and it gave me perspective on how far-reaching the Fraternity truly is. Brotherhood is one of those talking points for us that is often vague and undefined. This finally showed me brotherhood’s true face—it is the mix of warmth, professionalism, and friendliness that comes from this great family. LEAD was truly wonderful, even if I missed half of it, solely for this reason, and I recommend everyone try to attend because it offers an outstanding opportunity to grow in yourself so you can give that back and spread that feeling with your brothers in your chapter.
The next day, however, was not so much fun. Flying from Minneapolis was without flaw, but winter finally felt it needed to show its colors on Valentine’s Day and caused my connecting flight to Indianapolis to be canceled. It was as though I had angered Fate by trekking to Minneapolis and my trip just had not been enough of a hassle. Through logic that escapes me, while American’s flights were canceled, their affiliate United still had flights, so I was given a ticket for five o’clock. Several passengers waited with me when someone from the airline told us an earlier flight might be available if we signed the standby list. The only issue there was that the flight was boarding in ten minutes and we were in the wrong concourse; needless to say, I managed to get my workout for the day and ran to the correct gate. Somehow I still managed to board the flight despite being eighth on the list. It was a wild journey and quite a story to tell, but I can say with confidence that every bit of stress and worry was repaid to me double in the feelings of brotherhood I received from that weekend.