Not growing up in America I never really knew what Homecoming was, except for that a King and Queen are crowned. It turns out that Homecoming is a big reunion where Alumni from all years come back to the university to look around, show their families and donate back to the school.
The week is full of events as show in the picture below:
For more detailed information on Homecoming events at Appalachian State University click here: Homecoming Events
Class prevented my attendance at the Homecoming Kick-Off on the Monday night and rain forced the cancellation of the activities on both Tuesday and Wednesday nights. Thankfully the LipSync Competition on Thursday was held indoors, unfortunately I did not find it worthy of words in this story. The sun did return on Friday for the Homecoming Parade, APPtoberfest, Street Festival, Bonfire and Fireworks. The kids love the parade as the participants hand out candy. The parade lasted for around 20 minutes and then the crowds moved to the street festival.
The sun was shining for the Saturday Homecoming Football Game. This would be my very first American Football Game and Tailgating experience!
What is tailgating? It is a giant party held in the car park outside the stadium prior to the game. Groups set up gazebos and grill. There is eating, drinking and socialising. It is not just the students but alumni, families and football supporters partaking in the tailgating experience.
The players walk to the stadium led by the mascot, Yosef, and the cheer squad to the tunes of the marching band. I did not realise just how many players there were on the team!
There is a lot of fanfare pregame. The Marching Band will perform, the cheer squad do their thing and Yosef does the rounds. Finally it is time for the team to make their way onto the field. Seriously, how many people are on a team?!
I have to admit, I do not understand American Football. I found it slow and there was no excitement in the lead up to a touchdown, just a celebration once it happened. I only realised there was a touchdown when the fireworks went off so I missed all of them! Back home in Australia I have attended the NRL games and I am used to the cheer of the crowd every time a team is close to scoring a try, making it very obvious something good (or not) is about to happen. I am also not accustomed to a football game lasting over two hours. When the Appalachian State Mountaineers extended their lead to over 40 points, the crowd dispersed. They knew it was game over and by the fourth quarter the stands were bare. This is a common sight at games that are not close.
During half time Appalachian State named their Top of the Rock. There is no king and queen, just one winner voted for by the student body from the homecoming court who have contributed to the university and community. The reason behind the name “Top of the Rock” is that the Kid Brewer stadium is nicknamed ‘The Rock’ and that is where they announce the winner.
To round out the week and finish on a high I watched the National Pan-Hellenic Council Step Show. Wow, they can move! It was a high energy and very entertaining show to see. People were dancing in the aisles. It was definitely a highlight of the week for me.
So, now you know more about what Homecoming is, specifically at Appalachian State University. I am sure other universities have a alternative way of celebrating but I just wanted to share for everyone like me who never knew what it was.