As all Mizzou alumni know, the minute you step onto the campus at the University of Missouri, its beauty unparalleled the world over, you are told two things: 1) It's Missouri and if you don't like the weather just wait a minute (we're apparently very proud of the fickle nature of temperature and precipitation); and
2) MIZZOU INVENTED HOMECOMING.
That's right. Back in 1911 after being informed by the NCAA that a neutral site game against Kansas was no longer allowed, Chester Brewer thought, "Well, we're playing our biggest rival (at the time, not so much now, just ask them). Let's invite all the alumni home for the game, a pep rally and a parade." Wouldn't you know it? 9,000 Mizzou alumni showed up and celebrated...and with that, a tradition was born. A tradition since acknowledged on Jeopardy and NCIS no less!
Since that first homecoming, Mizzou's celebration of return has grown to include the largest non-wartime blood drive (donate blood if you can!), house decorations, the largest parade you'll see on a college campus, and so much black and gold spirit you'd think Mizzou barfed all over itself. And it's GLORIOUS!
Now, in recent years other schools have tried to claim they in fact invented homecoming and that they've been doing it for longer, to which I say, BALONEY. It's hogwash, a lie and insulting to all us true sons and daughters that know the truth. Let's look at these institutions of higher learning that have made this claim and debunk said claim with SEC quickness.
Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas
First off, there's one Georgetown. It's down the street from my apartment here in DC, and it's too crowded with tourists window shopping (probably Texans who have never seen an Urban Outfitters before). Their claim is that they had "homecoming" on a Wednesday in some park and ate barbecue. First off, homecoming does not happen on a Wednesday. It just doesn't. What you had, SWU, was what people commonly call a picnic. An "event" that involves eating food outside in the weather usually involving some wicker baskets and a frisbee. Also, Texas barbecue? Is that a thing? I asked RMN Chief BBQ correspondent BillSelf'sToupee his thoughts on whatever this might be and he had this to say:
"Texas bbq is shit. Lets just be honest here. Texas has yet again taken something that is wonderful and turned it into to a re-branded, lone star pile of longhorn crap. North Carolina, Memphis, KC, hell even St. Louis knows bbq. Texas knows how to throw a side of beef over a fire and smoke that shit til it's as dry and tough as Charlie Strong's upper lip. If I wanted to go and lick vinegar off a piece of leather, I could go to a basement outside of St. Louis and I know it'd be a hell of a lot more exciting than eating bbq in Tejas. Just calling it BBQ is an insult to the rest of our fine country that knows how to slow smoke meat the right way.
We'd have all been better off if Texas had seceded a century or two ago and we didn't have to deal with their flags, high school football Taj Mahals, hatred of women, and crap 'que."
I think that should take care of that then. Thanks BST!
The senior class also waited on people. How this would make anyone think this makes something homecoming is beyond me. How would that even be relevant?! Did I have homecoming on Saturday when a bartender handed me a delightful Sierra Nevada Octoberfest? Nope, not last I checked. That's just called service.
I think that's all we need to say about this myth, because that's what this is, a myth. SWU, move along. It's past your bedtime.
Baylor University in Waco, Texas
Apparently not only do the lights shine bright deep in the heart of Texas but so do the LIES! Baylor had a football game and some parties on their "homecoming," but you know what that sounds like to me? A Saturday at pretty much any college anywhere and at any time from late August to late November, and for some of us, early December in Atlanta. It's noted that Baylor's "homecoming" took place for a year, then stopped for six, so it was, to borrow a phrase, a tradition unlike any other, in that it wasn't a tradition at all. Something that happens once and is then not repeated is not tradition, it's just a thing that happened that one time. Like for instance, I drank a bottle and a half of Parrot Bay my senior year at Mizzou and then bought a Ron Popeil Food Dehydrator, this was never repeated for obvious reasons, but 'tis no tradition my friends.
So Baylor, what I'm saying to you is this: your little game and party was the equivalent of a drunk 21 year old making a 3:00 AM purchase of a durable good he had no use for. If that doesn't put your place in history into context, well then nothing will. Now get out of my sight, you're just embarrassing yourselves. And if Ken Starr wants to sue me, you can let him know I'm right here, ready and waiting to throw down in the people's court.
Northern Illinois University in the North of Illinois
They claim to have played a football game. That is their version of homecoming. Seriously, that's it. They played a game in 1903 and that's homecoming -- their first football game occurring in 1899. Hey, how about that? Not too shabby, right? Well I've got some news for you Huskies: MIZZOU PLAYED IT'S FIRST FOOTBALL GAME IN 1890!! I can only imagine what you guys were doing in 1890...let me check the Internet really quick...umhum, yeah, ahh...here it is. In 1890, your school DID NOT EXIST! So, to quote my good old buddy Gene, "YOU GET NOTHING, YOU LOSE...GOOD DAY SIR!!!" Now, Northern Illinois, kindly go back to the kid's table while the adults talk...that's right, move along...move it.
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Illinois claims they held the first homecoming in 1910, a claim that can't be backed up because, well, as I've noted time and time again, a football game does not indicate that a homecoming has taken place, especially one that has a gap in its history. Football game, then no football game, and then football again when the mood strikes you does not make it a tradition. Life just doesn't work that way, I'm sorry. Now to you Illini I say, if you want to fight for the claim of homecoming with me, you better come at me with some facts, no hearsay or innuendo. No, you bring graphs and charts and the stones needed to have a conversation, nay a debate. You know what you've succeeded in doing? Wasting my time, yours, and really embarrassed yourself in front of our readers. Apologize. Do it now. We're going to wait until you do. Very good, when you have something mature and thought out to say we'll be right here waiting across the river.
Wow, that felt good. I like to live by the adage espoused by George Costanza, that when you know someone is a liar, you call them a liar. And you four schools are all liars.
Now that that's out of the way, I'm going to use the rest of this space to speak on the greatness that is the University of Missouri and not those other four liars.
As was the point of this post, when you walk on campus this weekend, if it's your first time this year, or your hundredth, take it all in. Breathe in the air that thousands have taken in before you, gaze upon the columns and think back to the first time you saw them as they rose up from the quad and a slight smile creased your face, enjoy that slice of Shakespeare's pizza as it burns the top of your mouth and wipe your face with an off pink colored wash cloth. Have a burger a Booches, a pint at Flatbranch, and munch on the stretch at the Broadway Diner, all the while remembering what those moments meant as an 18 year old the first time you were away from home. Walk down Broadway and notice as the city changes around you and you around it, yet always remains the same.
That's what homecoming is, that's what Mizzou is. It's a part of our heart and our soul, it's not a football game or a parade, it's a feeling and a connection to a past and future we all will share.