Homecoming is always a fun time of year, with all the alumni who come back to spend time with those of us who yet to graduate. It’s a nice way to feel nostalgic and not have to feel depressed about the fact that your friends who graduated are no longer there.
I’m not a photographer, nor do I pretend to be one; my shots aren’t classy, or artsy. They’re pretty straightforward, but I feel like these photos capture the essence of McDaniel Homecoming in a variety, if not all, its aspects.
You start off with people. Arriving in cars, in droves really, old friends texting you and trying to find out where you are, as you frantically run around trying to see everyone.
I took this photo as soon as I left my dorm at around 9 a.m. I felt it encompassed the nostalgia of Homecoming perfectly. Ok, that’s enough of me being artsy. Here’s how Homecoming went, boys and girls.
Anxiously, we all wait for the parade to start, signaling the real beginning of merriments (yes, I just used merriments in a modern setting, get over it and agree: merriments means lots of fun).
Lets not forget about our volunteers to the left here, Homecoming would be impossible without them!
I’d also better not forget why we’re here though, and get to some alumns! The people in the picture below aren’t alumns, but they’re all friends with people from the classes of 1963 through 1969. They were pretty helpful in sending me in the direction of a pretty important party.
This lovely group of youngsters to the left sent me to McDaniel Hall where I encountered a particularly interesting group of people. After telling this group here that I was working for the Free Press, they immediately told me there were “football stars” in McDaniel Hall that would love if the school newspaper did something on them, so I literally jogged (I use literally too liberally: I walked at a brisk pace) to see this all-star class gathering and was not disappointed in the slightest.
These gentlemen had just been inducted into the McDaniel Hall of Fame. These two spirited guys couldn’t have been happier coming back to their Alma Mater and as I sat and chatted with them for a bit they made sure that I got a picture of all their friends too.
As Mr. Trainor spoke to me in his delightfully raspy voice I was able to understand that those around me were all important to McDaniel athletics, and true to who I am, I made sure no one was left out.
I rounded them together, I got their attention, and then I lost it again, but in the end we collected ourselves and put together this lovely little photo making sure that these members of the McDaniel community knew they were appreciated.
One star I’ve yet to mention is on the right here. Mrs. Giesey was very helpful in wrangling together all the guys, and while there were other women alumns there, she was the only one I could convince to take a picture. So here she is everyone, the lovely Mrs. Kathy Giesey, a proud graduate from McDaniel!
After spending some time with the motley members of the 63’-68’ crew, I decided it was time to get ready for the parade that was coming our way. I headed to the main road, dressed warmly in my sweater, a pair of good jeans, and my good pair of chucks in which my feet were kept comfortably warm with two thick pairs of socks.
I ended up at the judges’ table where I met Fernando Gomes (’10), Becky Allen (’04), and Carl Fowlkes, an employee at the school. The little guy in between them is Joshua Wheeler, the son of two McDaniel graduates.
I waited for the parade to start, shivering, wishing I’d worn more layers, and chit-chatting with the judges’ table, only to be rewarded by the sight of the Campus Safety squad car and right behind them, fast approaching, the first group in the parade: the ROTC.
The militant group approached and I watched as the disciplined men and women marched by me, proudly showing our country’s colors and the Maryland State flag, along with their own banner.
As they passed by, however, my interest peaked as none other than President Roger Casey himself slowly made his way to the game in his red convertible.
As he waved to those of us standing along the side of the road, giving the judges’ table a look, my attention was already drawn to the next group.
As the President’s red convertible drove by me, I watched as right behind him came the homecoming court and the smiling faces of those who had been elected by their class were brought to the field in triumph (yes, this sounds cheesy but come on guys it’s Homecoming and it’s a lot of fun!).
The two Freshman class nominees led the procession: Quentin Watson and Lina Kasaitis. I laughed as I saw the First-Years looked regal as anything, sitting on the edge of their PT Cruiser convertible. As they smiled and waved, I couldn’t help but take a photo of them. They really deserved it: being coerced into such a wonderfully awkward and rewarding experience.
Next in line were Becky Arseneault and Tim Jarosinsky. You could tell that these two weren’t new. The Sophomores looked very comfortable on the back of their car, and chatted idly with one another waving every now and then to those of us watching, occasionally at the judges.
Foster McDaniel and Jenn Panek represented the Junior class. As these two princesses (I say this with permission from Foster who basically told me when I took his picture that I needed to call him “Princess”) drove by elegantly in their chariot waving to those watching and chatting excitedly to one another, I couldn’t help but marvel at their wonderful public personalities!
And finally we arrive to the Senior class members: Daniel Alegbeleye and Kelini Coker.
These two looked very at home on their chariot, making sure to wave at everyone as they passed those of us on the sidelines, and giving an extra sparkling smile for the judges’ table as they passed. I watched them pass by me and then my attention was wrenched from my control by what followed the Homecoming Court: an interesting group of individuals to say the least.
Officially named “The Crab Guys,” this float was a serious number, with a few wise guys pretty upset about some serious policy at the school; they decided to make a stand and make sure people knew what they were about.
Making sure they showed off as much school spirit as possible, this group of rebel-rousers dressed as a golfer, z crab fisherman, a Greek god, and a comically-perverted version of Grant Wood’s “American Gothic.”
As the group moved past me, I couldn’t help but smile at the assemblage of people collected to celebrate McDaniel and the one day return of some of its former students.
Following closely were members of varying Greek life organizations here on campus.
Alpha Sigma Tau followed behind the Crab Guys, followed by Phi Kappa Sigma chanting their way slowly through the procession.
At this point, I was marveling at the different floats made by the different organizations. Each distinctly singular, and each very proud and excited to be there; and when I say distinctly singular, I mean it: the Phi Delts decided they were going to walk, hold up their shirts, and chant their song.
Now, as exciting as the parade can be, and as interesting as some of the floats were (let’s be honest, the Crab guys got me; they had an entire float of elderly men just being super ridiculous and having fun! How could that not be the best idea ever?)
I was excited for the game and seeing friends who had graduated.
As the six ROTC students walked out on to the field and stood at attention for the singing of the national anthem, the tension in the air was palpable.
The Terrors were out on the field ready to go. Franklin and Marshall were on the opposite side of the field looking just as ready and prepared.
As the coin toss was won by F&M and the ball handed over to their team for the beginning half of the game, the tension in the air thickened, as alumni old and new, students, teachers, and members of the general community got ready to cheer their team on and see the fight go through.
Of course, that’s not the only reason people went to the Homecoming game.
As I walked down the sidewalk from where I had been standing during the parade, I was struck by the smell of grilling meat and home-cooked dishes, as well as the sounds of hundreds of people who had set up to watch the game.
I sauntered around and took different photos of various groups who had set up. The group up above wasn’t paying attention to the game but hanging out with friends, and when asked if a picture could be taken, were all but jumping out of their seats.
I even made sure to visit some of my own friends while I was taking pictures, and to get some food at the numerous different what I like to call “grilling stations” set up by all the Greek life.
This is really what I think Homecoming is all about: getting together with friends old and new, enjoying time together, enjoying school spirit and enjoying the last few days of weather that leave you frozen.
A favorite moment of mine was when I encountered this little gem of a family, to the left, walking around the tents, visiting friends and showing off their adorable kid, Joshua. His parents (Mark Wheeler class of ‘05 and Ellen Inverso class of ‘07) were more than happy to have a picture taken, especially after hearing they’d be up on the school website.
I let them go after a small bout of small talk and watched as they made their way forth amongst the mass crowd that had gathered at the top of the hill to watch the game, pointing out where things were to little Joshua and just full of what seemed an overall contentment with the general proceedings.
I picked my way slowly through the tents after that, watching people interact, talking to friends and just enjoying Homecoming for what it’s worth. I even joined a few people in cheering on our team, which at that point was once again not doing too well.
I made sure I’d seen everyone I could before heading to my tent, where the alumni I would be seeing were close friends, more like family even.
I bobbed and weaved my way through this major crowd, through the haze of grill smoke and spilled beer, and bodies pressed tightly together. Through the entrancing aroma of food, through the sound of laughter and talking and overall happiness, just to reach my own family, or what I like to call my own perfect Homecoming.
The Alpha Psi tent (or spot on the Hill) may not seem like the most fun to everyone, but to me it’s home.
Luckily this year we had several alumni come out and had everything set up to meet them. We’re not Greek life; we’re an Honor society that likes to play at being Greek, but I have to say, we’re as close as anything.
As I sat there with a drink in hand, a burger on my plate, and my butt being warmed by a nice open spot on that big red couch, I didn’t even notice how the time flew by us as we all sat and talked.
Before I knew it, the game was over and McDaniel hadn’t done the best they could have, with a score of 28-9 in clear favor to F&M (shown to the right for posterity’s sake). I think McDaniel held it together pretty well as we left the field, though in reality I don’t think anyone cared about the game too much.
Yes, of course we were disappointed our team hadn’t won, but I think everyone hanging about and laughing and eating and spending time with their friends and individual organizations wouldn’t have noticed if the sky had started falling; it just wouldn’t have mattered.
I stood and watched the two teams get together in a huddle at the end of the game, as my friends cleared the tables and food around me, having made me get up from my comfortable spot on the couch. I wasn’t too sad myself about the team’s loss. I don’t mean to sound heartless, of course it’s disheartening when your team loses Homecoming, but really the day had been a great success. I had another few hours to be with people I hadn’t seen in almost a year and I was ready for the rest of the festivities to continue.
As Alpha Psi moved the first of the two couches from the Hill to the truck we’d brought them over in, I watched as the teams left the field, as those cheering on from the stands on the other side of the field got up and cleared out, and watched as even the Greek organizations slowly dwindled in numbers, leaving only a few die-hards standing amongst the tents still catching up.
I looked at the red couch my friends and I had been sitting on for most of the game and felt pretty good about how it had all turned out. Even as everything began to shut down around the football field, and the first droplets of what would be a stronger storm began to fall, Homecoming had been accomplished.
Those who had left us had come home, and we’d welcomed them with open arms, with lots to eat, lots to drink, and what we’d hoped was great company.
Keep it up McDaniel, you’re doing well.