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From the Archives: Homecoming

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With Homecoming on the horizon, there’s no better time to look back upon the history of football at our fine academic institution. Sure we haven’t always had the most successful team—or a team at all most of the years between 1976 and 2010—but we’ve got the kind of rah-rah spirit that’s never going to let a century and a half of crushing failures keep us down!

“Out of the Wilderness—DAL WINS 19-12” – Bill Owen – October 2, 1963 – Volume 96, Issue 1

The Dalhousie Tigers are the pride of the campus this week after coming out of the football wilderness last Saturday with their first win in 19 starts since 1960.

The Tigers downed the Acadia Axemen 19 to 12 before some 2,000 delighted frosh week fans on the Studley Campus. Their last previous win was against the University of New Brunswick Red Devils.

“Three stinking years I have waited for this”, Hugh Smith, corner linebacker on the defensive unit, burst out in the dressing room after the game.

The victory moved them into a tie for first place with the Stadacona Sailors. Both teams have four points and the tigers have a chance to break this tie when they meet the Sailors at the Wander’s Grounds on Friday, October eleventh.

“Football” – J.H.C. – January 11, 1873 – Volume 5, Issue 5

To football, e’er the sun was low,

Our college students did all go,

The citizens to be their foe

On this most famous battle day.

The leaders marshaled out the best,

And stood aside with many a boast,

Each trying who could show the most,

His fearlessness and bravery.

Between the ranks the captains went,

The eventful coin was upward sent,

All stood with eyes and ears attent,

Eager to know their destiny.

When to the foreman of the fray,

“Kick up!” “Kick up!” they all did say,

His pedal force he brought to play

Upon the ball most vigorously.

As when impelled by whistling breeze,

The gallant bark ploughs through the seas,

E’en so the leathern spherule leaves

The foot that hit so forcibly.

Onto the charge with fearful yell,

Upon the ball with kicks they fell.

No pen can paint, no tongue can tell,

The horrors of that scrimmaging.

Then did reporters dip their quills,

Great Jove himself a sly look steals,

The lesser gods forsake their meals,

To view the furious combatants.

The sun looked down with face benign,

To peep, the clouds stopped for a time,

The wind outstripped did loudly whine,

And moaned and fretted enviously.

“The combat deepens” mutters Jove,

And grins with pleasure from above,

But cits and students kick and shove,

Nor listen to his eulogy.

Ye gods and fishes, ‘twas a sight,

To see those captains in their might,

With hair on ends and fists clenched tight,

Lead on their ardent followers.

What though collegian bushkins ply,

What though they turn the ball awry,

In vain! It does still onward fly,

Before the intrepid citizens.

In vain their sleeves they upward roll,

Their captains shout “the goal,” the goal,”

The triumph cry they hear with dole,

Raised by their joyful conquerors.

As when a porkling wags his tail,

And grunts with pleasure when a pail

Of swill is poured for his regale,

So chuckled all the citizens.

“Me Like Football” – Sam McCaig – October 26, 1995 – Volume 128, Issue 7

It’s no secret as to why Dalhousie’s “Homecoming” weekend is so lame.

We need a football team.

Bad.

I know, I know— it’s too expensive. How can we justify such a costly sport when classes are under the knife? How can we shell out big bucks for such barbaric ballet when that money could be going towards new computers, more profs, building renovations, etc.? How can we even dare ask for such an extravagant toy with the evil spectre of rationalization hanging over our heads?

The answer to all of these ques tions is that, quite simply, Dalhousie Homecoming sucks.

Let’s face facts here. People don’t walk around this campus salivating at the thought of Dal Homecoming. They’ve already made plans to go to Acadia for the weekend, or, worse yet, to SMU. And if the students here don’t give a damn about homecoming, what’s the big draw for alumni? If there’s no crowd of raucous fans at Saturday’s game, why would they want to come? To sit around and think, “Yeah, Homecoming blew went I went here too. I think I’ll send the kids to Mount Allison. It might be small and in the middle of nowhere, but hell, they got a football team.”

It might not happen exactly like that, but see the point. It doesn’t matter if you’re a fan or not. I mean, it’s football. It’s easy to know when to cheer. Just wait for the cue from the drunk, painted, shirtless guys.

Think about it. It’s the middle of October, it’s cool, it’s crisp, you’re outside. The sun’s shining, there’s a hint of a breeze, the stands are packed. Maybe you’ve had a couple pops with your friends. Whatever the case, seeing your university football team in action is about a lot more than just taking in a game. All of Dalhousie, past and present, is out there sharing something. You’re all rooting for the same thing. It’s events like this that bring a university together.

I suppose the 90s term for it is bonding. Whatever. It’s a good time for students, alumni, and the university as a whole. And, judging from our hockey team, monetary support from the alumni is out there if you know how to get it.

Take this year for example. The effort was definitely there, moreso than in any other year that I’ve seen in my prolonged stay at Dal. There was a barbeque. There was a beer tent, and not only did it have beer, it had live, singalong, maritime music. And all of these attractions overlooked the field. And there were fans in the stands. Nobody in the beer tent (and I mean nobody) or grabbing a hot dog, but some people were in the stands. So what it was, was a regular old game with a couple of tents set up that nobody used.

Throw football into that mix and Homecoming would actually mean something to the Dalhousie community. It’s a simple solution to a simple problem.

John Hillman
John Hillman
John Hillman is the Gazette's Opinions Editor. John is a second-year law student, but he has been at Dalhousie for much longer than that. Recently discovered cave paintings indicate he was first observed lurching around campus by Halifax’s original human settlers some time during the late Pleistocene epoch. He started writing for the Gazette back when you were in elementary school, but he unexpectedly went off the grid a half-decade ago to concentrate on helping found Punditry.ca, a DSU-focused political blog. Where exactly was he hiding between the years 2009-2013? Certain individuals would prefer he not comment. Why has he returned? Not because of a top-secret Illuminati indoctrination project known only as the Omega Initiative, that’s for sure. You can email John at opinions@dalgazette.com.
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