Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Hum-dinger Homecoming weekend

The past weekend (Fri. pm 22 to Sun. 24) was quite an eventful one for yours truly. Particularly in the matter of sports and of Homecomings.

First up - on Friday evening my favorite MLB team made history. The Texas Rangers beat the Yankees 6-1 and thus won the ALCS title and their first-ever entry into the World Series. In the franchise's fiftieth year. And in Game Six in Arlington! I was so-o-o-o happy for Nolan Ryan, phenomenal former pitcher who retired as a Ranger (1993) and now is President and co-owner of the team.

All three of my university alma maters played their Homecoming games on Saturday. That's about as rare a Fall Football Saturday for me as is one on which all three teams come up winners. (THIS occurred one of the Saturdays back in September.) I'd have loved to have been able to go to Moscow for Idaho's Homecoming; I always considered the Vandals Homecoming Parade thru little downtown Moscow to be the best of such parades. And the Vandals handily defeated New Mexico State 37-14. Go Vandals!

And in Fort Worth, Texas -- in the same county as Arlington, where the Rangers had just won ALCS, and don't think I wouldn't have wanted to be in Tarrant Country to see BOTH! -- TCU's Horned frogs put the hurt on Air Force Academy. With 30 first downs and their accustomed 500 + total yards, the Purple and White won 38-7. Air Force can get some credit: they're the first team to score a TD on the Frogs in four games!

But alas! it wasn't such a sweet Homecoming Game here in Music City out on West End Avenue. After being tied 7-up with South Carolina at the half and well into third quarter, the Vanderbilt Commodores fell , 21-7. Small consolation for we who bleed Black and Gold: at least the 'Dores showed up for the game. They were glaringly "absent" a week earlier in Athens, Georgia, in losing to the Bulldogs 43-0. Which was Georgia's Homecoming game by the way.

However, I didn't attend the game but rather a little of the pre-game Homecoming activities. Already being in the Vandy neighborhood on an errand, I chose to then drive over and check out open house (or "tailgate" party) at Lambda Chi Alpha. Kensington Ave. was blocked off, so I parked in the alley behind the chapter house. First, I was surprised to find nobody in the back yard, and upon entering almost nobody inside. This was disconcerting; I almost always enter by the front door. However, I was quickly apprised that the Brothers for the most part were on the front lawn. Shortly after joining them out there I noticed that several golf carts were lined up on Kensington, some already decorated to participate in the parade. And straight across the street stood tables from which freebies were being given out. I sauntered over and received a Chik-Fil-A sandwich (still hot), a bottle of water (still cold) and a plastic lei (Black and Gold). Later I also acquired a necklace of gold beads and one of black.

While enjoying this impromptu free lunch (or "tailgate" party, if you will) and casual chatting with Brothers and their dates, I kept an eye out for other alumni. Indeed I saw Bro. Robb Bigelow, with his two kids. Bro. Robb was one of the first Lanbda Chis at Vandy when National chose to revive the long-dormant Gamma-Delta Zeta. As an alumnus he served as High Pi (Alumni Advisor) for a few years; he works as a lawyer here.

The Homecoming Parade consisted of the VU Marching Band leading a series of golf carts decorated in somewhat float fashion. Lanbda Chi Alpha entered one, with Hawaiian or tropical adornment. The use of golf carts amused me: it was so typical of a "rich kids' school". You see, Alamo Heights High School, where I substitute taught and which serves an "old-rich" area of Bexar County (San Antonio), used golf carts to convey the Homecoming Court onto the field of Orem Stadium. Now AHHS is a public school and has a mixed student body as far as fiscal status goes. But there are plenty of students from the "old-rich" families, which I suspect fosters a stereotype in neighboring school districts that AHHS is a "rich kids' school".

In the same way, although Vanderbilt students cover a spectrum of family income (e.g., my wife as an undergrad at VU came from a rather modest home in Tampa), ask anybody and they'll voice the opinion that most Vandy students are wealthy. So the golf carts struck me as fitting. Fitting the stereotype, that is!

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