Thursday, October 16, 2008

Everyone loves a parade

After a five year absence, Kent State brought back the Homecoming parade this year. I'm not really sure why they decided in 2003 to stop doing the parade, but they did. In place of the parade, the University decided to do what it called a "Homecoming Celebration" at Dix Stadium leading up to the football game. While that sounds nice, I am really glad they decided to return the parade for several reasons. First, a parade is something that gets the community involved in so many ways, from parade entrants to just community members watching. The "Homecoming Celebration" really limited itself to those who were either connected to Kent State in some way or who happen to be attending the football game. I'd say most of the people who come to the parade aren't going to the parade and many don't have any connection to KSU other than living in Kent. I've always been a big proponent of town-gown relations. That was one of the things I didn't like about BYU-Idaho. Even with the common religious beliefs between the church-owned school and the community which was also predominately LDS, I felt like the school was very insulated and had only limited interaction with the city since it did not have athletics and most of the activities put on by the university were limited to current students. The only things where I actually saw community involvement were some devotionals, concerts, plays, etc. Of course those were better than nothing, but not enough in my opinion. I always felt like there was an invisible wall between the school and Rexburg (which was a bubble in itself!).

Of course parades are just fun too. I admittedly wasn't planning on going but my sister Katie woke me up Saturday morning and asked if I wanted to come so I said OK. I'm glad I went because I really enjoyed it. I saw several people I know from the university, church, and community and enjoyed pretty much all the entries. About the only thing I had to roll my eyes for was the second-to-last entry, which was the Kent State Anti-War Committee. Yes, I realize this is America and we have free speech. I'm not opposed to their entry in the parade, but since I have free speech too I can say how I didn't agree AT ALL with their message. They were chanting "support our troops! Bring them home!" I couldn't help but think of my friends the Wilcocks. The father of that family, Jacob, has already had duties in Iraq and his wife Tina is pretty opinionated about the war and what supporting our troops means. I REALLY wish they had been with me at the parade...we could've had some fun! As it was, I just rolled my eyes and gave a few causal "boooooo"s from where I was sitting. Nothing obnoxious or loud, but not silent either. Like I said, they have a right to their opinion, but I also have a right to mine, even to disagree. I'll have to blog about that a different day (my feelings on bringing the troops home), but let's just leave it at I definitely want to bring the troops home, but I also want them to come home having finished the job. Supporting our troops means making sure they have the resources to finish the job so they can come home fulfilled.

Now, back to Homecoming, if Kent State ever gets a decent football team then Homecoming will be an even more fun experience for everyone. As it is, we have a great weekend until having to sit through a disaster called a football game and watch the Flashes beat themselves! As much of a college football fan I am, I'm beginning to wonder if the enormous costs associated with a Division I football program are worth it for Kent State since the team is hardly ever good, even in the Mid-American Conference! When is enough enough? When does the university finally say "this isn't working"? Well, after the millions put into upgrading the stadium with all sorts of new things like a scoreboard and other renovations, it doesn't look like it'll be anytime soon.
Notes on pictures: 1. Katie and me right before the parade started along East Main Street in Kent. We sat in front of the former site of Terrace Hall right near the beginning of the parade route, which ran from Midway Drive to Franklin Avenue in downtown Kent about a mile away; 2. What's a parade without a marching band? This is the Roosevelt High School Rough Rider Marching Band. There were two other high school bands in the parade as well as Kent State's; 3. View of Dix Stadium's west stands during the homecoming game from the new scoreboard & concession plaza (sound end zone); 4. View of east stands (student section) and north end zone stands; 5. View of new scoreboard and concession area in the south end zone.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey - I love a parade, too! (as you could tell by my rant about homecoming over here). DON'T EVEN GET ME STARTED WITH THE ANTI-WAR THING ... holy meatballs, i would have been right with you on the "boo" thing. Boo-boo is what i'd give them. i'm suprised there wasn't a large effigy of barack osama there, too. grrr ... this election is already boiling my blood. will it be a repeat of 2000? speaking of jacob, he will be going back to iraq in either january or july-ish. he did such awesome work there! teaching the local men how to build houses so they could have a life skill that would assist and help their families and communities. i really feel that he was on a humanitarian mission - those poor Iraqi people would be dead if we pulled out sooner than we should ... some politicians (mentioning no names) just don't get that. i met an Iraqi man a few weeks ago - he was such a nice man! he, and a group of others, are political refugees that have been assisted by a Lutheran organization to start a new life here in the states. the poor people were sent here to north dakota - which is sad because they are totally not prepared for the harsh winters here! this man is from southern iraq and he is used to the heat and humidity practically year round. anyhoo, i have more to say on that but will hold my peace for now. okay, well thanks for the pics and i'm glad to went to the parade. which reminds me of a bumper sticker i once saw ... "i love a parade (have to, i'm in the band" ... hahahah! ;) tina