I received a call this week. A brother called to tell me personally, “we have decided to make this work. We refuse to give up and quit. This means way too much to me.” I can’t tell you the feeling that came over me when I heard those words. I have seen and heard it too many times. “It’s not worth it.” “I just can’t take it anymore.” “I quit.”
When we prospect, we do everything we are asked to do. Why? Because we want to be a part of a brotherhood. We want that inclusion. We want to feel like we are something. We want that patch. It means everything to us. We ask our wives to be patient with us. It’s going to be a little rough for the next several months. You may not see much of me. We know what is coming and what is expected.
We make it. We did everything they asked us to do. I fetched 1,000 beers. I cleaned the clubhouse what seemed like a million times. I washed tons of bikes. I helped cook, wash, cleanup, paint, and so on. I could get a job as a handyman now for all of the experience I have had as a prospect. I learned what all of the major positions in the club are and I can name every man who holds those positions. I know the history of the club. I have maxed out my credit card attending national meetings and rides and helped raise a ton of money for causes. It was a good time. But that time of my life is over. It’s a memory. A good memory. Well, except for the time we left our cut on the back of the chair when we went to the bathroom. I’d like to forget what happened after that. But the rest was good.
I now get to attend closed meetings. I am in on decisions and votes. I get to offer my opinion on things our chapter does. I want to be a Road Captain. I am a good rider. I want to show everyone I can plan rides and make sure everyone is safe. It’s a hard job but I can do it. I am going to work hard. I will be a Road Captain one day. Or something…anything. I want to do whatever I can to be the best member of this chapter.
It’s been a few years now. I have earned patches. I am sponsoring prospects. I have been a Road Captain for a while now. It’s ok. Everyone gripes about where we go. We stop too much. We take too many breaks. We stop too long. We got separated. Someone got lost. Blah, blah, blah…it gets old. I’m not sure this Road Captain thing is working out for me.
This membership is a little different from how I pictured it. We have some great times! I knew that would happen! We ride and we go to the clubhouse and have cigars and just talk about life and everything. We do good things for others. I put this patch on and everyone knows what I am and what I am about.
But there are things going on around the world I don’t understand. I read on social media about who said this and who is doing that. I try not to get caught up in it all, but it’s there and I know it’s there and it makes me wonder what is going on. Sometimes I start to think if it’s all worth it.
We just had the election and the chapter elected me VP! I am stoked. I can’t believe what just happened. I can’t believe that I have proved to my chapter that I am worthy of this honor. I’ve got 3 years in now. I was just presented my “for life” patch this week. That’s me. I am in this for life. This is my life. I live for this club. There’s not stopping me now. Everyone in this club is going to know me.
I post on social media now. After every post I sign my road name and my position. I congratulate new chapters that are announced and sign my name and where I’m from. They are going to know me. I get friend requests all the time. I get messages and talk to members all over the world. At the end of every conversation I always put “club for life.” And I mean it. It comes from my heart.
Things get harder each week. It reminds me so much of marriage. The Honeymoon is over and the hardest year is whichever one you are on. We have gotten used to each other. We take advantage of each other and we fight more often than ever. But just like kissing and making up we always seem to slap leather and call each other brother.
I earn my patch every single day. It is not just given to me to wear. It means something. I not only had to prospect to earn my patch it is being earned every day. I do everything I can to prove to these guys that I am worthy of the name, the logo, the association. I know that when I put this patch on, I not only represent myself, but every single other man who wears it. That’s no easy. It is hard for me to put aside everything that I want to do and make sure that I am a good representative every day. Everyone relies on me to live a life of character, no compromise, and be an example to the club to everyone I come into contact with. Many try to get in…but not everyone is successful. This is hard. It is stressful. Sometimes I wonder if it’s worth it.
It is worth it
Yes, I ask myself that question. Sometimes I just want to give up. I think about how much easier it would be and how less stressed I would be if I didn’t have to deal with all this. I think about it all the time. I feel like the executive that is so stressed at work that I keep my letter of resignation handy in the top drawer so that if the time comes when I can take anymore I can just turn it in and walk away.
But then I get that call. I get that message. I get that text. A message from a brother 5 states away that I lean on, that I talk to, that listens to me, that encourages me, that rides with me, that has shared his heart with me. I see that comment by a brother from another country that lifts me up and makes me proud to be who I am. I get that phone call from a brother in my chapter thanking me for what I do and being a good example to him in our chapter. I sit at my computer and scroll back through all of the pictures of the different events and rides that I have been to all of these years and see the faces of the men that I love and respect. The ones that have been there for me all of these years. They have never forsaken me or turned their backs on me.
I would have never met these men if it hadn’t been for this club. This club is what brought us together. Sure I see it all the time, “patch or not we will still be brothers” when sometimes leaves the club for this reason or that. But it is never the same. We can want it to be and give our best to make sure it happens but it is never the same. These men are in my life because of this club. There is no other reason. Our paths would have never crossed in life and I would have missed out on that relationship. And the quality our life is measured by the relationships we have on this earth. I think about all of the great men that will come into my life in the future because of this club. No other reason than they come in just as I did, put the patch on their back and we become brothers. THAT makes it all worth it.
There will be bumps along the road. There will be hard times and probably some tears. There will always be days when we question what we have done and what we are doing. But there will always be those men that walk beside us, stand beside us, hold us up and call us brother no matter what.
I refuse to throw that all away. I can’t imagine life without this. Every day is a new day. I have “decided to make this work. I refuse to give up and quit. This means way too much to me.” I am here FOR LIFE.