When the Athletic Department first received word that the Georgetown versus Colgate Homecoming football game had to be cancelled, the entire staff was shocked. The Athletic Department, the Center for Leadership and Student Involvement (CLSI), the African, Latin, Asian and Native American Cultural Center (ALANA) and the Alumni Association had been planning activities around the event for weeks hoping to raise more school spirit, but Georgetown’s call last Thursday evening brought their plans to a sudden halt.
According to Athletic Administrative Intern Jamie Mitchell, the news was completely unexpected, and at first, rather disheartening.
“On Thursday night, my boss called me and asked me, ‘Are you sitting down?'” Mitchell said. “I couldn’t believe it was happening. It definitely threw us for a loop. No Homecoming game has ever been cancelled before.”
Mitchell was informed that the whole Georgetown campus was affected by the outbreak of norovirus, a 24-hour virus that spreads by contact. Of the 400 people affected by the virus at Georgetown, 80 were student athletes, and as a result, all of the school’s sporting events were cancelled.
However, Colgate’s Athletic Department staff soon began to formulate plans about how to proceed with the weekend.
“After the first few minutes [of hearing the news], we began to focus on how we were going to salvage [Homecoming],” Mitchell said. “We had all the tools, and there was a field hockey game scheduled.”
As a result, on Friday, Mitchell and the rest of the Athletic Department agreed to continue all the festivities as originally scheduled, but they decided to revolve all the activities around the field hockey game instead of the football game. The team moved the time of their game up from 1:00 p.m. to 11:00 a.m., and the Athletic Department decided to extend the hours of tailgate from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., instead of 1:00 p.m., as was originally planned.
Fortunately, the football game’s cancellation didn’t appear to deter the crowd that showed up at the student tailgate section on Saturday, and the field hockey team was thrilled with the high attendance at their game.
The pep rally on Friday got the weekend off to a successful start, with a large number of students attending the celebration on Whitnall field that included fireworks, Elvis Perkins in Dearland, the pep band, a cheerleading routine, a giant bonfire and free t-shirts and mardi gras beads. A Spirit Week competition, which was originally designed to lead up to the Homecoming football game, was held amongst 10 different groups on campus, bolstering school spirit during the Homecoming activities.
Mitchell was thrilled with Homecoming’s success.
“[The Homecoming tailgate and field hockey game were] basically just as packed as the football game would have been,” Mitchell said. “I think the weekend actually went smoothly. We thought it would be more chaotic, but there were no major hiccups. Even when the game was cancelled, we just sat down and decided [to go ahead with the plan].”
Students likewise thought the weekend went remarkably well despite the lack of a football game.
“I thought the pep rally was good because there were a lot of people, and cheerleaders, there,” sophomore Shaina Musco said. “It was really cold, and the bonfire was nice and warm. The field hockey game was fun, too. I’d never been to one before, and I didn’t know the rules, but it was pretty exciting!”
Nonetheless, Mitchell predicts Colgate will schedule multiple sporting events during Homecoming weekend from now on, just to make sure nothing falls through as it did this past weekend.
Mitchell also shared his hopes to make Homecoming bigger in the future, with the ultimate aim of promoting greater school spirit.
“Last year was the first year [Colgate] celebrated Homecoming, basically,” Mitchell said. “Only three people threw it together in just one week. Next year, you never know, it could be bigger. I want to make Homecoming bigger and student-run, so students will have more say in it. My goal is to increase school spirit in general and build new traditions.”