by Jayce Finnell
“It’s so much fun it might kill you.” This is probably the scariest, yet most accurate way to describe Graceland University Homecoming. As a student who was just kicked in the face by Homecoming 2015, I have to say, it is too much fun to pass up. Late nights followed by early mornings followed by even later nights … what’s not to love?
Leading up to welcoming alumni to campus over the weekend, the student “Houses” are paired into “Brother/Sister” combinations and spend the week competing for points in games and events sponsored by Graceland Student Government (GSG). Graceland homecoming is a weeklong event, but dedicated Brother/Sister House combos begin Air Band preparation at least a week in advance. Otherwise, those homecoming late nights can get even later.
Monday brings “volley pong,” where the goal is to throw a volleyball into strategically placed trash cans. Sounds pretty easy, right? And it would be if it weren’t for the distortion goggles. These googles make it impossible to see straight, making hitting the trash cans across the commons lawn a pipe dream. This was a pretty entertaining game to watch other students attempt to play. Cheville/Solah took first in this event.
Tuesday is the day known for homecoming dodgeball. The best thing about this event is that everyone comes dressed up in the most ridiculous costumes they can find. I, being the proud “Orion Hunter” that I am, painted myself purple and green while wearing as much Orion garb as I could find. It all seems like fun and games until the actual tournament starts. That’s when everybody buckles down and throws as many things as fast as they can. That’s all part of the fun, though. Where else can you paint yourself up and play dodgeball until 1 a.m. on a school night? Oh, and by the way, Orion/Aponivi won dodgeball this year for the first time in seven years, so there’s that.
By Wednesday, the Brother/Sister House positions become more apparent, but no team is out of the race yet, and Wednesday offers two chances to add points. First off, the goal of the noon game was to unfold five frozen T-shirts and put them on – pretty straightforward. People were throwing shirts on the ground as hard as they could to get them to break, and trying to warm them with their breath and body heat; chaos in the typical fashion of a noon game. Great job by Cheville/Solah for conquering this one. The evening offered “Family Feud – much like the television show – a change from previous years, which have featured “Quiz Bowl.” Personally, I can’t say that I am a huge fan of the change, but congratulations to Tiona/Dimora for their win.
Once Thursday comes around, we know which Houses are most likely to be among the top three in points. Sleep has been sufficiently ignored by this point, and we still have two days left. Thursday is widely known to hold the annual homecoming scavenger hunt. This is an event my House, Orion, was eagerly awaiting because we have run a bit of a dynasty on it for the past six years. And then, the game was on. People were slathering themselves in peanut butter, jelly, ice cream, chocolate syrup, and more. Only during the homecoming scavenger hunt will people jump into Big G lake in below 50-degree temperatures, all for the sake of those precious homecoming points. The scavenger hunt may be my favorite homecoming event, even though Cheville/Solah won.
Finally, Friday. The big day. The “oh-my-gosh-it’s-airband-and-I-have-no-idea-if-I’m-prepared-for-this” day. This is the day the scores settle and the winners are announced. The final noon games arrive, and it’s time to joust. Shopping cart jousting is a unique idea that I had never even considered, and I have to say I found it quite entertaining., and even better because Orion/Aponivi won. But the best is yet to come, and Air Band showcases students dancing their hearts out for a packed Closson Center to compilations of music set to themes such as Toy Story and School of Rock. The few minutes after Air Band are some of the tensest moments I have experienced as a Graceland student. The judges tally, tabulate and score and, finally, the Air Band winners are revealed. Orion/Aponivi take third, Tiona/Dimora second, and Agape/Amici take the gold. The numbers that mattered to me this year, however, were the overall scores. Who came out on top this year? None other than Orion/Aponivi!
And now, let the weekend begin.
Homecoming will always be treasured by students and alumni, alike. Fewer things are more exhausting while simultaneously being the most fun a person can have. The truth is, no matter what the final scores are, everyone worked hard to make this homecoming the best they could. Homecoming is a chance to create new relationships and build on the ones we have already created. Students may be separated by “Houses,” but we all come together in the end. We are one team, we are all friends: “We Are Graceland.”