Attack of the moths was unprecedented
I have been covering high school football at games all over Arkansas, Missouri and Oklahoma and I thought i had seen everything. I hadn’t.
In the second half of the Homecoming game Friday, I had never seen so many moths gathered in one place in my life. I have never seen all that many bugs invade Pea Ridge stadiums, even tough the bright lights are a come on for flying insects to assemble.
In eastern or southern Arkansas, at night, football fields often look like they are lit by clouds on sticks with the huge swarms of flying bugs. I saw a video posted by my nephew who daughter was a cheerleader for a Norman junior high in the Oklahoma City area. The cheerleaders spent more time swatting mosquitoes than doing anything else and it was said that the big increase in rain and precipitation has led to a sizable uptick in the insect population.
But around northwest Arkansas, swarms of bugs at ball games are the exception rather than the rule. Hurrah for press boxes.
An area sports writer had a theory that the homecoming halftime fireworks display may have stirred up the swarm of moths who may have been migrating south when they stopped for the evening at Pea Ridge. Here’s hoping they keep going, maybe making Louisiana before the ’Hawks play Gravette this Friday.
Speaking of Homecoming, I found out that very few people know what homecoming is, or at least the history if it. I asked my classes last week what homecoming was, and the most popular answer is “the day the football team comes home.”
When I pointed out that the football team actually lives here and hasn’t left home yet, finally a student asked me “who is coming home, then?”
While I have known for most of my life that homecoming is when alumni of the school having the homecoming show up for the game and the variety of activities that go with it. As an undergraduate at Harding University, the campus was always awash with posters telling the various members of the various graduating classes of the past, where to go to see their fellow grads on Homecoming weekend.
However, at least on the high school level, I have not heard of classes gathering on those Homecoming weekends for many, many years. Most classes from the past, like my Class of 1971, have their meetings on summer weekends or maybe early fall, but never having it coincide with a football game.
You might ask — who started homecoming games to begin with. There are three colleges who lay claim to that distinction.
The first was Baylor University, who held a Good Will Week back in 1909, which culminated with a football game at the week’s end. At the game, the current seniors were in attendance wearing their caps and gowns, and graduates of Baylor were encouraged to attend the week’s festivities to renew old acquaintances. However, it did not become an annual affair until years later.
The next year, 1910, two students at the University of Illinois organized a rally to boost the support in their annual rivalry with the University of Chicago. They encouraged past graduates to come to the game to support the team in numbers and it was a sort if homecoming but not really embraced by the school officially.
The school that is the most recognized one for starting homecoming was the University of Missouri in Columbia. It was 1911, and Tiger athletic director Chester Brewer decided