Coming to understand our earlier Homecoming

As summer comes to an end and the school year begins, the numerous “back to school” traditions commence. September brings the first day of school, the first football game, and, probably, your first mental breakdown of the school year.

One event that September is not known for is Homecoming. Usually, the Homecoming game and dance are in October, giving students the time to prepare for the first big events of the school year.

However, this year, George Mason has decided to hold the dance on September 23, which means Spirit Week is the third week of school.

As this news spread across the student body over the summer, there were frantic texts and conversations discussing the complications that this earlier Homecoming would bring.

This year, there is a lack of time to prepare for the Homecoming week festivities, such as the Powderpuff game and Volleyboys. This year, the participants in those events only get two 45-minute practices that are scheduled by the administration; this does not leave a lot of time to learn the game and prepare for the matches.

Finding an outfit for the Homecoming Dance will also be a time crunch for everyone. Many students shop online for their Homecoming outfits, which means they could take a couple weeks to arrive. With this early Homecoming, students would have had to order their outfits the first week of school or earlier.

If that’s not enough, there is also the dilemma of dates. Since we have all just returned to school, many students are reconnecting with friends and meeting new students. This means that people may not be as comfortable with each other as they would be in October. This is going to lead to more awkward and uncomfortable homecoming date situations than usual and a lot more people flying solo to the dance or even not going at all. Not to say going with friends or without a date is the end of the world, but for many students, getting a date and asking people to the dance is one of the best parts of the annual event.

All of this is important to our students, but what about the students who came before us? The traditional cause for Homecoming is the “coming home” of many Mason alumni. These former Mason students come home and back to the high school to watch the game and reconnect with old classmates. The usual October Homecoming coincides with a college break; that is usually not a problem for these alumni, but since this year it’s in September, many college students who would’ve otherwise come, will not be able to attend due to their school schedule.

All of this has been chaos for logistics and our SCA. They have had to fit an insane amount of planning for Homecoming week into the first two weeks of school. All of the beloved activities and festivities that take place annually take a lot of planning and coordination in order to run smoothly. It’s unfair to put the excess stress and pressure on our SCA, who are already overwhelmed as it is. 

According to athletic director, Coach Julie Bravin, they have chosen this date for homecoming because it “will create the best atmosphere for celebrating” and the weather is predictable. She explained that the academic load is not as heavy and there will be less conflicts with other sports at this time. She concluded by adding that the school has had Homecoming in September before, just not since any of the current students have been here and that many other schools have earlier Homecomings. However, just because we’ve done this before, does not mean it is a good idea and that we should do it again.

With all the commotion that the beginning of the school year brings, trying to squeeze Homecoming into September adds more stress and complications. The traditional October Homecoming was definitely more ideal.

Homecoming is a big deal for all students. Let’s rethink this for next year so that we can make it the best it can be.

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