A REVIEW BY
I woke up on Sunday with a gut that said “fuck you” and a head that felt like a bag of sand. Needless to say, most of the morning was spent on autopilot. I convinced myself to make the zombie-esque shuffle to Val, but somewhere along the way I remembered what breakfasts at Val tasted like, and as I marched on, my stomach joined my gut in telling me to go fuck myself. By the time I’d settled over my plate of scrambled eggs and bacon at a corner table in the front room, my organs had unionized, gone on strike, and filed a series of class action suits against me. What follows is my defense against these lawsuits, which is basically this: It was Homecoming.
I always find Homecoming fun because of the reckless behavior it promotes in the name of school spirit. A longstanding tradition among colleges, homecoming events tend to have similar characteristics: a football game usually serves as a center point; the weekend also includes rallies, parades, speeches, and dances, such as the keg stand; and the events intend to unite alumni and students to create a stronger sense of school pride. True to form, Amherst always boasts a wide variety of campus events throughout the weekend, packing the schedule with a number of opportunities for alums to reengage with their former campus. I attended and do not remember attending many of these events. However, I am confident that I can remember at least three whole things from the weekend that definitely happened. If I get to two and a half, we’ll round up.
One: I remember that, for the first time in a while, I pressured myself to wake up by ten on a Saturday. I had already given a friend money to buy booze and pancake mix and I was afraid that if I was not at her dorm early enough she would run out of both. I also remember the pep talk I gave my liver when I DID wake up at 10. For as much as I knew this day would be a drinking marathon and not a sprint, I had not paced myself at all the night earlier, deciding instead that, YEAH, I did need that extra shot of peach Rubinoff, and YEP, that paired perfectly with standing on a couch in Jenkins, singing all the lyrics of Smash Mouth’s “All Star” until the weehoursofthenight.Two: I remember burning myself while cooking bacon because somebody suggested I dump olive oil in the skillet first (to be fair though, after seeing me cringe in pain he did say, “Well, I didn’t mean that much oil”). I remember laughing, dancing, and yelling at random objects that definitely did not deserve to be yelled at, since they were objects. And a half: I remember feeling proud of myself at around 11:30am. Can’t remember why.
I did it! Two and half things that definitely happened! And hey, the rest of what I’m going to say might also be true too.
I didn’t make it to the football game until about halfway through the fourth quarter. After stealing a plate of food and a spoon (the only available utensil) from the baseball tent (the only available place to steal from) I decided to turn my attention towards the scene of Pratt Field (the only place I could turn my attention) and learned a couple things. Eating penne pasta with a spoon is an incredibly frustrating experience, and there aren’t too many days I get to see this many people wearing purple in such a small space. (I couldn’t figure out the causal relationship between these observations.) But I mean, holy shit, there’s a lot of purple. Like, competitive amounts of purple. Like, everybody decided to wear that forgotten Hastings shirt that they purchased during their senior year of high school and then suddenly remembered purple. During my sophomore year’s homecoming, I decided to wear a Phoenix Suns shirt since it was the only piece of attire that was THAT purple in my wardrobe. I remember walking through the stands that year and passing a seated friend. “Hello my fellow Amherst college student! How are you!” (The exclamation point is because I yelled it more than asked.) “Hey,” she responded, inspecting the shirt I was wearing, “Nice team spirit, Dick.”
“My name is Ryland,” I said.
I was determined not to have the same experience this year. I had gone out of my way to find the one Amherst sweatshirt I owned earlier that morning and felt ready to acclimate into the crowd—a drop into that football-watching sea of Welch’s grape juice. I did, however, build up quite the sweat clumsily attempting to eat my pasta. Realizing that it’s never sweater weather when you’re both burning and consuming calories simultaneously, I shed my Amherst sweatshirt just as a friend walked by me. He looked at what I had left—a white t-shirt, green pants, and hiking boots— and told me I looked like I was about to run off into the woods.
Fuck the haters. I am team spirit. The rest of the day consisted of a run-in with my aunt (Smith class of ’84) and uncle (Amherst class of ’83) who proudly introduced me to their friends as their “drunk nephew,” a linner (the delightful meal between lunch and dinner) run to Antonio’s and a 5pm nap. The struggle to wake myself up and go out again at 8pm felt reminiscent of the morning, especially because I woke up and found that my shirt had been stained by pancake mix many hours earlier.
And that brings us to now. Waking up on Sunday. My head feels like a stress ball. On an emotional level, it all feels similar to the moment before you board your return flight after an incredible vacation. But when I close my eyes and listen hard enough, I think I can still pick up a faint, ethereal “LEGGGGOOOOHURSSSSSTTTTT!!!” Those days will come again, and these have now been put to paper.