I was at Spring Reunion 2009. Were you? Didn’t think so.
Consider yourself lucky. After three fantastic years of Homecoming experiences, I was thoroughly depressed when I witnessed what was being touted as a fantastic alternative to the September festivities. I have always looked forward to Homecoming, and not for the reasons many would think. I’m not an Aberdeen supporter. While I stop by to take a look, I don’t find pleasure in being crammed onto two blocks of SWAT-team-bordered, fenced in street with 5,000 of my closest friends. I also don’t enjoy having to form a human chain to make sure my friends don’t get lost or trampled, illegally urinating in some unfortunate person’s backyard due to lack of facilities and ability to leave, or having to duck when beer bottles soar over my head (although I will admit I could not wait for Homecoming to roll around in first year for specifically these outrageous experiences). Instead, I like Homecoming for what it is meant to be – seeing the alumni come ‘home’ to Queen’s, sharing their experiences, and re-living the experiences we are still fortunate enough to be a part of. This year, the only contact I had with Queen’s alum was the poignant moment when I witnessed an aged Engineering alumnus in his mustard yellow jacket wandering on Earl Street alone, looking at the pile of rubble with windows that was Phase I of the Queen’s Centre.
NOT TRADITION (Photo courtesty of stephentaylor.ca)
Each year, I have attended the Homecoming football game, sharing it the first year with my floor, second year with my frosh, and third year with my housemates. Each year, I have had an immense surge of pride at seeing the most senior of alumni, eyes brimming with tears, being driven around the track at Richardson Stadium in golf carts while waving to thousands of cheering students. In fact, during a recent conversation with some fourth year and recently graduated students, we all agreed that the best part of Homecoming is the interaction we get to have with the alumni – whether at the football game, the QP, walking around campus, or even, as the case may be, during kegstands on Aberdeen. This year, I’m faced with the reality that I may never get to experience this myself, and that this very special moment where we are movingly connected as students with the alumni is gone. I will never get to experience the tradition of Homecoming. In fact, I may be relegated to doing the Oil Thigh alone in my bedroom each September to retain my connection to the school.
TRADITION (Photo the author’s own)
What will canceling Homecoming mean for Queen’s and the City of Kingston? Well, I certainly don’t think it will prevent the infamously large street party. As evidenced by a Facebook event created likely mere moments after the cancellation announcement was made, students will be taking to the streets out of spite – if anything, the party will be more rambunctious and dangerous, as police struggle to contain and arrest thousands of drunken revelers. Connection between alumni and Queen’s will suffer, and donations will likely take a hit as a result. And, let’s face it, Homecoming is the only time anyone gets out to see the football games and our currently 3-0 boys could use the well-deserved support. But, most importantly, beyond the financial and sports-driven context of Homecoming there is that Queen’s tradition that drew most of us to the University in the first place. Homecoming, especially once you have graduated, is the cornerstone of that tradition. It is easy to lose touch once you’re gone, but knowing that each year you can return to campus and re-live what were likely the best days of your life is a welcome comfort.
While the Queen’s PR and AMS drones may spout that Spring Reunion 2009 was a success, let’s think about this in a different way. Why bother coming home if there’s no one there to greet you?
Please stay in this Homecoming weekend and stay off Aberdeen. The only way we can convince the administration to bring back the real Homecoming is to let this Fauxcoming go off without a hitch. Where’s the fun in police, ponies, teargas & tasers, anyways?
also posted at: Always OUA .