I’ve always known that I wanted to participate in the Southern Miss homecoming events some day. Well, that day finally came on Monday, Oct. 9 – the day The University of Southern Mississippi’s homecoming festivities officially began. And man, was I ready to “Behold the Gold” as I watched our team rake in points.
As a child, I remember seeing the standing floats, watching the homecoming parade and hearing which team won homecoming at the football game. I remember rating all of the standing floats in my head (not knowing anything about the teams) and wishing that my choices were the winners when I heard them being called out at the game. I remember watching the Dixie Darling alumni strutting onto the field. I remember catching candy flying from the top of the fire truck where the cheerleaders were perched. This year, I actually got to be a part of it all.
It wasn’t all rainbows and butterflies though. It got stressful once I realized that those bright and colorful standing floats take time – a lot of time. I also never knew that there was a theme – this year it was “Behold the Gold.” I was shocked by the amount of tissue paper we had to use. Our standing float depicted Lofty, the administration building and a field of black-eyed Susans. Other floats had some of the same elements with tons of black-eyed Susans and Seymours.
Throughout the week, e had to participate in certain challenges, all while we were busy trying to finish both the standing and riding floats (oh, and not to mention sleep and go to class). Monday was the dance competition and while watching in the stands of the Reed Green, it made me miss my dancing days in high school. (Note to self: sign up for that next year.) On Tuesday, there was a karaoke contest, and if it weren’t for Facebook likes, I think my team would have won. Wednesday was a day filled with community service opportunities, as well as the social media challenge of finding Waldo on campus. I spent two hours searching and finally found Waldo in Seymour’s. Thursday was the Golden Race. I like to think of myself as being pretty good at Southern Miss rivia. Little did I know that we had to run all over campus, and I’m still sore. Winning first place was worth it though. Just try and quiz me on all of the USM presidents in order.
Friday was the fountain sit, something I had been looking forward to watching for years. I aspire to be the winner of the fountain sit, but with my size – I’ll more than likely end up with hypothermia before the fourh question.
Saturday’s parade was eventful to say the least. All was fun and games, until our float was turning onto the front of campus. Suddenly my head was inches away from the toll booth that guards campus. The driver didn’t quite calculate that turn correctly, so our float and almost my head ran right into the toll booth. May the left side rest in peace.
The game and tailgating was pretty much like any other game or tailgate so far – hot. I loved watching the homecoming court walk down the field at halftime. The Dixie Darling alumni dancing made me tear up (the older ladies are just so cute!) Everything went great, especially when they announced that my team came in third place overall. It felt incredible to have made that accomplishment with all the hard work everyone put in.
Finally getting to experience homecoming as a USM student was exhilarating. I finally got to see and participate in all of the traditions I had seen from afar over the years. I made memories that will last me a lifetime, and I can’t wait for next year.