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Homecoming Traditions – Start His Life As a Young Man
Across the country, high school football stadiums are back in action, with parents, students and boosters turning out to root-root-root for the home team. Whether they’re covered in blankets and sipping hot chocolate from thermos bottles or in shorts and T-shirts and sipping bottled water and Coca-Cola products, there’s no doubt that high school football is an incredibly popular national pastime.
It doesn’t matter if your team is on its way to a state championship or has a habit of catching defeat in the jaws of victory: for every high school team there is one big game during every season. Homecoming events actually began on college campuses, with the University of Missouri hosting the first such event in 1891, followed by Baylor University in Waco, Texas in 1909. Baylor was the first school in the country to center its weekend around a sporting event. As Baylor is located in Texas, where football is the undisputed king of sports, the idea caught on among other schools in Texas. As America adopted the legend of the Lone Star State cowboy, it also championed the idea of homecoming celebrations, and by the mid-1920s, colleges across the United States began offering homecoming opportunities to their graduates.
Now America in the early 20th century was primarily an agrarian community, and most of those who were not farmers worked in some sort of industrial or service capacity. In other words, not every young American went to college—and when they did, they dressed up, though I’ll save that for another story. In fact, most Americans have not completed high school. They went to work. Those who had the luxury of a high school diploma were looked upon in many communities with the same kind of awe that was held in the mid-20th century for those who earned degrees.
It only makes sense that high schools modeled themselves after their more educated older brothers. Sororities and fraternities popped up in high schools, and homecoming weekends became revered as reunions for some Ivy Leaguers.
Homecoming allowed graduates and students to rub elbows. A hundred years ago, this could result in a chance for a student to meet a future employer. Although I suppose such an opportunity is possible today, homecomings really are an opportunity for graduates to reminisce about the good old days – the days of youth and indestructibility, without all the pressures of a class reunion. After all, at the homecoming football game, there is no report card that contains all the accomplishments of the rest of the class.
For students, homecoming usually includes Spirit Week, which consists of competitions between freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors, and between various organizations on campus. There is also an annual football game, distinguished from those during the regular season by the extra efforts of the cheerleaders to paint signs, a particularly well-rehearsed halftime show by the band-drill team-twirlers-drummer and troupe, etc. ., and – especially in the South – the ubiquitous homecoming mom. Girls measure the value of their boys relative to each other by the size and price of their mom, much in the way that engagement rings, houses, cars and “investment jewelry” will later.
Speaking of investment jewelry: Homecoming is the perfect time for mothers and fathers of sons—or sons themselves—to invest in jewelry. This is the perfect opportunity to purchase his first set of cufflinks, sure to be treasured through the years of high school, college, career and fatherhood.
The culmination of the week is usually the homecoming dance. The advantages of such a dance are the opportunity for the students to be seen dressed up, to enjoy the excitement of the idea of their Big Night Out, and for such an event to be enjoyed by all regardless of whether the football team wins or loses.
Although some schools allow kids to dress up for their homecoming events, most events involve girls in cocktail dresses and boys wearing at least jackets and ties. I’ve heard parents say they’d rather buy their sons jackets at this stage than suits; boys grow at such an alarming rate that it is often more profitable. However, while you can save money with a blazer or jacket that fits and looks good but isn’t tailored to him personally, you can make it look very expensive with the right accessories.
Your son may outgrow certain clothes, but he won’t outgrow a classic tie and a pair of cufflinks. Be sure to choose a classic tie – perhaps a stripe, which will allow him to look traditional and modern in the ironic preppy style that is so popular these days.
Make this event special by investing in a pair of classic cufflinks. They will take him through many years of special events and start him as a young man who thinks about the details. Engraved with his initial and presented in a special box that includes the date, this will be a gift that will keep him coming home long after the football season is over.
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