This is Homecoming Week at Maryville High School. Like with most homecoming weeks, each day is a theme that leads to the Friday night football game. That’s followed by the homecoming dance.
For instance, Monday was pajama day. If you have comfy P.Js, you jump out of bed Monday morning and head to school. You might want to put on a pair of shoes. Tuesday was country day. It originally had a different name but it offended high school students that actually live in the country. Being politically correct on Homecoming Week seems to be very important.
Wednesday was color war day. Apparently a war on colors is politically correct. Thursday is hip hop day. I could dress for rock & roll day, but hip hop day might mean to me classes filled with the game Hop Scotch. The week comes to an end with school spirit day. Everyone agrees wearing school colors wouldn’t offend anyone.
Wednesday also brings a big bon fire in the Middle School parking lot. As long as no one gets singed or sparks don’t fly to the Middle School roof, it’s a great night for everyone. Arch rival, Savannah, comes to town Friday night. That has special meaning, too.
Coaches usually don’t really like Homecoming Week. All the dress up and lining up dates for the Homecoming Dance is just a distraction for the real important part of the week; the football game.
I’m not sure if this was a factor, but you like to schedule a bad football team for homecoming. Last year, Savannah was a bad football team. There was nothing to suggest a big improvement for this year. As it turns out, there has been a big improvement for Savage football in 2017. Now Coach Webb has to hope homecoming provides motivation, not a distraction.
Things have certainly changed over the years to the tradition of homecoming. In 1965, I was a freshman at Clatonia High School. My class of eight students had grown to about a dozen. Kids from the Lutheran school and one room schools came to town for high school.
I hated the first weeks of school my freshman year. Every freshman was forced to wear a beanie. It was a baseball hat without the brim. With all the Brylcreem, a famous hair cream for males, in control our James Dean hair, that Beanie was dirty, greasy and smelly by the time Homecoming Week rolled around.
Remember that famous saying, “A little dab will do you.” Most of us young men thought if a little dab will do you, a whole hand full was better. Put that greasy mob of hair in a football helmet, sweating in the late summer heat meant a forehead full of pimples.
With greasy hair and pimples everywhere, homecoming week meant a week of hazing for all the freshmen. The things we were forced to do in front of the administrators was embarrassing enough. It was much worse when the administrators went home. The only good thing about Homecoming Week was at the end, we were able to burn those stinking beanies.
I actually had a date for homecoming my freshman year. One thing that stands out was the new dance craze, The Twist. Chubby Checker was played about every other song.
Homecoming week my freshman year at Kearney State College was much different. I’m not sure who Kearney played in football that Saturday, but I do know it was a night game. The Lopers were supposed to be a national contender, but their All-Conference quarterback, Rich Osentowski, broke his hand and pretty much ruined Kearney’s chances nationally.
It didn’t matter much to me. I actually had a date for the homecoming game and the homecoming concert on Friday of that week. A lot of big name groups came to Kearney just before they hit it big. One was the Fifth Dimension. They played at Kearney the same week their famous song, Age of Aquarius, hit the music stores.
I just don’t remember who played that Homecoming Week, but I do remember having a date. That was big news for me. I remember at the football game, I took an umbrella and sat in the stands with my date as the rain poured down. We were both dressed to the nines. After all, it was Homecoming Week.
Most colleges and universities have parades on Saturday morning of Homecoming Week. Northwest’s Homecoming Parade is special. It’s Walk-Out Day on Friday so students can prepare for homecoming. If you are socially active, that usually means a late night with a lot of drinks supposedly reserved for 21 year olds.
Just so the college students and alums have no chance to physically recover, a tradition ruins all rest. In downtown Maryville very early Saturday morning of Homecoming Week is something called Kegs and Eggs. Certain bars open at 6 am with breakfast and beverages for everyone who has survived Walk-Out Friday.
I once talked to the person who delivered ice to the bars. That Saturday morning, the ice was delivered at 4 am so the beverages get just the right chill. I don’t mean ice coffee either. I always thought the best part of Kegs and Eggs was the T-Shirts the bars sold on that morning.
Who can forget the Saturday a certain University of Missouri student came to Maryville to celebrate Walk-Out Friday, followed by Kegs and Eggs. He became disoriented as he tried to leave town in his PT Cruiser. Confused by all the police presence, the young man turned his car right into the parade route, going the wrong way.
Thank goodness the cheerleaders and the Northwest Marching Band got out of the way just in the nick of time. No one was injured, but that student spent time in a more confined campus second semester. It could become a legend of Homecoming Week and no one was hurt.
As the coach of the women’s basketball team at Northwest Missouri State, I thought it was important for my freshmen to experience the traditions of Homecoming Week, but with restraint.
I offered to give them Saturday morning off from practice if they all walked or rode in the Homecoming Parade. Of course, the upperclassmen forced the freshmen to stick around campus. If there was a way to avoid a morning practice my upperclassmen would take it. They would all be in the parade and practice was cancelled.
I didn’t mind missing a practice on Homecoming. It’s a lot a lot better than burning that old, greasy beanie, soiled by all that Brylcreem.