I went to Homecoming at UNT today and had a great time.
First of all, there have been a lot of positive changes up there since I was in school, and I'm not just talking about the new buildings. One of the things was the huge crowd, both for the game and the tailgating beforehand. When I was in school, tailgating would have involved literally the tailgate of a single truck, maybe (and they would have been running afoul of the law by doing so), and almost nobody came to the games. But now the whole parking lot was full (winning will do that, I guess); they had a special tent village set up in the practice field for reunions of campus organizations (I stopped by the KNTU booth and talked with Russ, the station manager then and now, for a bit), and then the lot itself was reserved for tailgaters. I hung out with some of the Sinfonia brothers, at least one of whom had been there since 8 a.m.! I found it really funny that all the bro's were so shocked to see me there. I mean sure, I'm not there every week like I was when I ran the chapter's alumni program, but it's not like I've fallen off the face of the earth or anything. At any rate, it was great to be missed and appreciated.
And then came the game. This was the change that really impressed me. When I was in school, the student side would be mostly full, and the alumni side would have maybe 20 people in it (OK, maybe not that few, but definitely what Letterman would call a "smattering"). Today, the alumni side was nearly full! And they were rowdy too; the people over there when I was in school looked like they were barely alive sometimes. Oh, and they've also "borrowed" that old Texas Tech tradition of throwing tortillas up in the air whenever a touchdown is scored. Loads of fun. And yes, we won, 37-27, to go 3-0 in conference play. Looks like another trip to the New Orleans Bowl could be around the corner if the rest of the season goes so well.
Near the end of the game, I went over to the student side near the band for a while. The poor bandmembers were up at 10:30 for a parade (better than the 7:30 a.m. call we had a few times when I was in there), then the 3:00 game and an exhibition at a high school contest later on that night (yikes). One of my Sinfonia bro's is the director of the marching band now, and another serves as its P.A. announcer; it's so great to see all these people doing well.
All in all, a great day; I would love to see the team get into a slightly more high-profile conference (maybe one where they play SMU and TCU every year, for one thing), but it's so much better than when I was in school and had to get my "real" college football fix by going to my sister's Texas A&M games. And getting to see old friends is always cool, along with being able to go somewhere that was a major part of your life for a while and still feel welcome. Sometimes, you really can go home again...
QUOTE OF THE DAY: "I know you!...What's your name?"--a friend of Micah's, who I met when we were at TMEA back in February. I didn't recognize her right away because she was in a marching band uniform when I saw her today. She at least remembered me as "Micah's friend," and there's no dishonor in that.