Homecoming–A timeless tradition
by Conrad Bascom
Lake Mills Graphic
Ah, we’ve finally entered that wondrous time of the year when the mass exodus of dying leaves announce the arrival of those timeworn and anachronistic traditions like the ‘Sadie Hawkins Dance’ and the ‘Homecoming Court’. Perhaps dating as far back as the Cambrian explosion of 500 million years ago, ‘Homecoming’ is both a timeless tradition and a useless vestige of our hairier predecessors herd mentality. For generations, innumerable pimply-nosed teens have endured the sadistic American pastime with relative cheer—despite the hidden angst it instills in the envious observer. But much like in American capitalism, the teens vote for their prettier peers time and again, willingly and with relative effervescence—all in hopes that their show of good faith in those charmed teens who’ve been touched by the ‘Popularity Gods’ will result in their own crowning a few years later.
‘Homecoming’ isn’t solely a high school occasion, of course. In fact, it originated at the collegiate level. There are many Midwestern and Southern universities that have tried to stake their claim on the original ‘Homecoming’, but the inaugural version is most often attributed to the University of Missouri and their storied rivalry games against the Kansas Jayhawks (which was aptly dubbed the Border War after John Brown and his rowdy abolitionist marauders). The rivalry began in 1891—making it the oldest college football rivalry west of the Mississippi—and the early iterations were held at neutral locations in Kansas City and elsewhere. In 1911, a new conference regulation mandating that all games be held on college campuses resulted in the first Border War that was to be held in Columbia, Missouri. This was to the dismay of Athletic Director Chester Brewer (what a classic turn-of-the-century name), as he was certain that attendance would drop precipitously. And so it was Chester Brewer that first concocted the idea of inviting alumni home to watch a game and to enjoy a school spirit rally. The first ‘Homecoming’ was a rousing success, as somewhere near 10,000 Missouri alumni returned to the University to watch Missouri and Kansas play to a 3-3 tie (what a classic turn-of-the-century football game).
Since those auspicious beginnings, the ‘Homecoming’ tradition has become de facto law of the land, as practically every college and high school across the country now host their own respective ‘Homecoming Weeks’. Waldorf University is no different, as this previous week was all Warrior-pride all-the-time. Former Warrior All-American student-athletes Valeria Cogollo Martinez, Jenny Schweikert Gilbertson and Scott Pitcher were each inducted into the Waldorf Warrior Hall-of-Fame (giving them ample reason for a return visit). This year’s “Homecoming Court” featured an Oscar’s theme and lip sync battles (that played to uproarious fanfare). Patricia Molina and Frankie Contreras were elected Homecoming Queen and King respectively, extending Waldorf’s run of electing at least one international student to two years (I can’t attest to before 2017 because that was before my time). It was an energetic event and there were undoubtedly a lot of smiling faces—even if the escorts that weren’t elected had their parades rained on. On Saturday, soggy weather resulted in the annual tailgate festivities being moved indoors into the Meal Hall—the football game continued at its usual location. A lot of effort was put into the week by Campus Life and S.W.A.T., so they need to be recognized. Even though this humble writer may have some sarcastic inclinations and reservations when it comes to such unabashed school spirit and the related events, he cannot discount the oodles of fun the majority of his peers enjoyed over the course of the week.
All in all, Waldorf put on a dang-good rendition of a well-worn tradition.