Homecoming 2022: Wake up the Echoes
BY BILL RUBIN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Graduating classes come and go.
Marching bands come and go.
Cheer squads come and go.
Coaches, team managers, and cable television announcers all come and go.
But there’s only one homecoming. And across the U.S., an important date on the calendar is near, Homecoming 2022. Coronations, parades, bonfires – oops, that’s a specter from a bygone era, and pep rallies all lead up to the game – perhaps better phrased as Thee Game. Win it and teammates rejoice for decades. Lose it, and those same teammates are haunted beyond decades.
What about the economic impact of homecoming? A 2011 news clip from Albany, Georgia proclaimed, “City officials say Albany businesses should receive an economic impact between four to five million dollars from Homecoming.” The owner of a restaurant said homecoming was biggest week of the year by far. “There’s nothing like the Albany State Homecoming weekend,” the owner boasted. Is it possible for college fans to spend a little over $380 traveling to their alma mater as a 2021 study suggested? Ouch. And Yes. Gotta eat. Gotta sleep. Gotta get swag. Gotta celebrate. Or commiserate. Remember, consumer spending is responsible for 70 percent of the country’s economic activity. This includes spending on football and homecoming.
Bringing it down to a local level, bars and grills will be full before and after games. Concession stands will be busy, too. Floats for parades don’t decorate themselves. And topping the tank to and from big games is a must, even as gas settles in at $3.70+ a gallon. Back in the day, new dresses and coats were purchased for homecoming. Fast forward to 2022 and more than one family elder may ask, “You paid how much for those jeans and they came with all those holes?”
Families in Wisconsin’s St. Croix Valley find ways to come through. They’ll do it again for homecoming this fall. Boosters play a big role behind the scenes. An undersized 220 pound defensive lineman needs pasta on the eve of big games, followed by brownies and milk for desert. Boosters make it happen. Eight and nine-year old kids playing organized football for the first time soon become high school juniors and seniors. Unpaid boosters played big roles in getting them there.
An unnamed university in South Bend, Indiana has high expectations for academic achievement and even higher expectations for success on the football field. Their fight song asks followers to wake up the echoes, cheering her name! This is a call for all loyalists, living or not, to pull for a victory. How can the opposing team stand up to a legion like this?
And now on to the big game, Homecoming 2022. Good luck players, coaches, drum majors, cheerleaders, and fans. Blackhawks, Hilltoppers, Panthers, Raiders, Spartans, and Tigers will call upon their legions. Wake up the echoes!