The Homecoming Grinch

I’ll start off with a disclaimer. I certainly don’t dislike everything about homecoming or its events, I just take issue with some of the banality surrounding the excess pageantry that goes along with it. 

Let’s go about this chronologically. First you have to find a date. I know growing up in the late 90’s/early 2000’s, every teenage sitcom (think Boy Meets World/Saved By the Bell) made a big deal out of the “finding enough courage to ask out the cute girl” process. And it can be difficult and awkward at times, sure, but over the past ten years or so, some of these proposals are getting out of hand. Now it’s less about finding the courage to ask and more about “how can I be completely original when I ask her”. But fellas, seriously let’s face it, most of us aren’t the most creative or out-going guys in the world.  Not to mention, there will most likely be a much more important proposal you’ll need to be creative about down the road.

So enough with the balloons filling up the sophomore hallway. Enough personalizing footballs and throwing them to girls in the crowd. There’s no need to paint your chest with “Homecoming?” No need to  scroll the question across a jumbo-tron or make your request during morning announcements. No need to create a pamphlet with reasons why she should go with you. No need to surprise her with flowers in her car after school. Sure, you want to make her feel special and unique, but seriously, a simple face-to-face conversation would be more original than any sneaky attempts to surprise her. Save the good stuff for marriage, guys. 

After you’ve found a date, the second step is finding the right dress and tie. If this sounds like the easy part, then you’ve never spent 30 minutes sifting through piles of ties at Macy’s or JC Penney. But have no fear, I have the perfect solution. Dear Dress-Making companies, whenever a girl orders a dress of a certain color, simply provide a matching tie that corresponds with the color of her dress. It’s honestly that easy, just give the tie to the girl, and us guys can pay her the difference for what it costs. That way everyone is happy: the girl doesn’t have to worry about her date not knowing the difference between pink and magenta, and the guy doesn’t have to suffer from hours of shopping for one item. Homecoming attire should be bought as a package deal for both genders. Problem solved. 

Next comes the actual events themselves. And I’m all for them, for the most part. The process of choosing a homecoming court is typically deemed a “popularity contest,” and yes, most of the time you’ll find a number of athletes on the court. But really, the King and Queen are usually the two students who are the most friendly, respectful, and easy-to-get-along-with. No real issue there.

Parades are nice, sure, they are a way of showing pride in your school and your fellow class of students. But let’s be honest, the true winners are the most aggressive 6 year olds who can’t wait til Halloween to get their sugar fix in. Remember kids, it’s about spotting the starburst and laffy taffy, so leave the caramel rolls for Mom and Dad. Oh, and keep an eye out for flying tootsie pops, those suckers will leave a mark. 

Of course after the parade there is the football game. One major plus here for students is that their school days are might get cut 30 minutes short for a pep rally involving tug-of-wars, pie eating contests, and trying to scream “S-O-P-H-O-M-O-R-E” louder than the upper classmen (the key is remembering the second “O”). And in terms of the actual game itself, most teams try to schedule a cupcake match-up to ensure victory and avoid spoiling the fun. 

Finally, we’ve made it to the dance. But before that, don’t you dare spill A-1 sauce on your white dress shirt or azure tie or “overly-priced-only-wear-it-once” dress. When you get to the dance, it’s probably going to be hot and stuffy, so do you’re best to stay cool. And if the night is going fine at this point, go ahead and request your favorite Nicki Minaj song from the DJ, but remember to keep it PG-13. Even if dancing isn’t your thing, it’s a guaranteed lock that DJ Homecoming will play the Electric Slide at least once, so get out there and “cha-cha real smooth.”

Homecoming can be a great thing for a school and a community. But let’s not forget what homecoming is and should be all about. Put down your cell phones for 2 minutes (it will be okay, I promise), and ask someone to the dance by actually conversing with them. Find a matching dress and tie and you’re good to go (trust me, your hair looks fine). Take pride in your school and your class, and stop worrying about the material aspects. Have fun kids. 

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About the author

Sports writer with two and a half years as Jacksonville High School's starting quarterback from '06 to '08. Blake currently volunteers his knowledge as a football coach.

View all articles by Blake Schnitker

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