Through the Lens of Lentz

by Dan Lentz | 10/17/11 10:00pm

What is Homecoming?

All-knowing Wikipedia says it marks the welcoming back of alumni. For many Dartmouth students, it is an excuse to start the weekend on Monday night instead of Friday. I would like to think that in the South, it is about football (then again, I'm from New York so in my mind, everything Southern means football thanks to Friday Night Lights). It could also be about building a community. And according to the Internet Movie Database, Homecoming is the title of an independent Morgan J. Freeman thriller (not that Freeman, I double-checked) starring Mischa Barton.

I would like to think that here at Dartmouth, Homecoming is all of these things. Well, except for a horror film made by a guy who probably got a job because someone thought he was the other Morgan Freeman. The one with talent.

Those who have graduated come back and share with us their own stories of debauchery. A community is built around a fire and a couple of stupid freshmen who are dumb enough to get third-degree burns. (Remember, we are going for nine or fewer.) And like it or not, Homecoming is about sports, specifically football.

After a stirring win during freshman year and a disappointing loss the next, we will be up against winless Columbia this year. I personally know Columbia as the school with a massive football stadium that never gets filled.

From a purely football standpoint, our football team has hung tough in games despite getting a win. Yes, we have one win, but we also got blown out by Yale. So the game should be a good one to watch and one that I hope and think we can win. And that is the good thing about Homecoming it can almost make you forget about the rest of the season. If you win 30-0, the game makes everyone forget the season's other painful losses.

You may also ask why I am only talking about football. The Big Green plays plenty of other sports. Well, let me ask you this: Who sits up there with Jim Kim when he gives his speech at the bonfire?

Homecoming is a football weekend. That doesn't mean we do not have other sports. We do, and they are pretty good. Xander Centenari '13 just advanced to the quarterfinals of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Northeast Regional, for instance. But, no offense to Centenari and the rest of the tennis team, people are not coming back for Homecoming to see the tennis match.

So is that it? The answer to my question from a sports point of view is that Homecoming is a football weekend?

No. Like I said before, it is a lot of things. Homecoming is also about community they go hand in hand. Football just happens to be the most recognizable fall sport.

An aura goes along with Homecoming. When I played in high school yes, undoubtedly my glory days, I'll admit it it was the game. The one we went crazy over.

And it applies to most of us now that we are spectators instead of participants. Homecoming is something else, still with an aura, but something else. It is more than the alumni coming back, the parties and the other shenanigans. For some reason, a random weekend we label as Homecoming is just flat out different.

I cannot explain what it is like just as I cannot explain what a neurochemistry test is like. Personally, I do not think anyone can. Homecoming is one of those things you just can't put in writing or film it is truly indescribable. It is different for everyone.

But at least I know this: It's not a horror flick with the girl from "The O.C."