I wrote the following a couple weeks ago about an event several weeks before that - it's about time that I got around to posting it:
To tell the truth, the concept of “Homecoming” seems a bit old school and hokey to me in the context of modern society. However, for the past two years Homecoming weekend trips have been among my favorite trips back to Ames.
Last year, it was a beautiful weekend with an early game. I made the solo trip in the night before and hit up Campustown with Brad who was in from Kansas City. We had a good time but the best part of the weekend was the rare two-to-three hour postgame tailgate in ol’lot D1 north of Jack Trice Stadium. It was very chill; just an eclectic group of my fraternity brothers (some of which I hadn’t seen since graduation) sitting in bag chairs, alternating between discussions of memories of the old days and news of what life was currently bringing to all of us, and, of course, drinking canned beer until the coolers ran out.
This year, I made the solo trip again and this time met up with Hope and I’s perennial host in Ames, Austin (who was solo for the weekend himself) at Wallaby’s on Friday night. We stayed out late which, in our old age, directly translates to a late start on Saturday morning.
Austin is now the Chapter Advisory Board Chairman for our fraternity and he had responsibilities at the house so we headed that direction right away. We where were celebrating the Chapter’s 95th Anniversary and the ribbon-cutting on the summer remodel of the house. Brad arrived from Kansas City a couple hours later and we toured the remodel and watched the ceremony, all the while dodging falling blueboard from the lawn display. The house looks awesome and with the biggest pledge class in 10 years it looks like the Chapter is primed for great things.
Next up was a chapter-sponsored tailgate in Tent Row where we had the chance to meet up with more old friends, both Phi Delts and others with an interest in the chapter.
As we approached game time, I received a call from Kerry and Renee that they had four tickets in the new Jack Trice Club section of the stadium and that two of them were ours if we wanted them. I’d never sat in the club section and was quite excited. I quickly found some friends who needed seats to take my usual tickets, grabbed Brad and we took off.
The new club section is quite impressive and a great way to watch a game. At least I think it’s great, I found that I had trouble concentrating on the game with all the distractions. The section is heated, which is great for a night game in late October, its brightly lit, it has its own video screens telecasting the scoreboard, it has free food (including Clone Cones), it’s own bar (yes, inside the stadium) and, thankfully, it’s own bathrooms. I really like our usual seats, we’ve had the same ones since graduation, and I’ve always said that I have no desire to move. However, if I could afford I’d take the Jack Trice Club anytime.
Despite my insistence that Kerry and Renee stay in town for the evening, they left after the game and Brad and I made our way over to the new Alumni Center. They were having a reception for young alumni, of which I am apparently considered, so we did a quick tour, chatted with the folks we knew then made our way to Campustown. Along the way we did a quick and random walk through an SAE house party (don’t ask) before arriving at the bar formerly known as People’s. This was the second time that I had visited the current “Papa’s Corner” and the first time I had seen more than 5 people inside. The place was crowded, they weren’t real prepared to handle it, and we left after a couple drinks.
We made it a block or so to a new (at least to me) pizza place that was crowded and looked like a good idea. We grabbed a few gigantic slices, sat down with some random students and asked them what they thought of the election (remember, this was October). We played along with what may have been the most ignorant conversation on the qualifications for office of then-Senator Obama to ever take place so close to an institute of higher education. A few minutes later we ran into Jay and Pete, two fraternity brothers I hadn’t seen in sometime, and ended the evening hanging out with them as they took care of their own monster pizza.
All in all, it was quite a weekend. That’s two-for-two on great trips back for Homecoming; unfortunately, neither of them were due to the football being played. Let’s hope that next year’s Homecoming is just as good and in the midst of a great football season, as well.