Coming home always special

T.R. Hanrahan - Publications Manager

T.R. Hanrahan – Publications Manager

T.R. Hanrahan

Thank God. You can go home again.

You see, I attended school here. Here, I formed some of the strongest and most enduring relationships in my life. Here, I learned the skills and developed the qualities that drove me to a college degree, graduate studies and a good career. And here is where I have returned to work.

I love Missouri Southern. I really do. And this week the enemy comes to town. And that enemy is my son. Kyle is not inherently evil, mind you, but he is a student at Missouri Western. And this weekend, Western is the enemy.

Don’t get me wrong. I still love the stupid Griffon-loving, black-and-gold-wearing loudmouth. He just needs a smackdown. So I am pinning my hopes on my other kids. You see, the greatest thing about my job is I work with students. Call it na’ve, but in each student I see potential. So, I am counting on the potential of the Lions this weekend.

The California state high school record for touchdown passes in a game is eight. It is not held by Warren Moon, although he played his prep football there. Moon is in the Pro Footbal Hall of Fame. The record holder is a redshirt for Southern.

And so, for this weekend, Jake is my kid. Not that crazy Western fan who will sit next to me at the game. I have other kids. Casey and Kyle, for instance. Ashlee, Shauna and Deonte, too. And a few more. No, wait, a bunch more. Because, while we cheer them on and love their accomplishments, Homecoming isn’t just for our athletes. It is for everyone.

Homecoming is for old people, like me, who cook chili. Homecoming is for young people who want to be royalty. Homecoming is for faculty with the guts to risk having to wear a cardboard racecar and sprint around the Oval. Homecoming is for a nursing reunion. Homecoming is for watching a small, overcrowded, understaffed alumni office do more with less money than any organization on campus. Homecoming is about buying a brick and catching candy from a passing float. Homecoming is about high school bands doing big things in very little time.

Homecoming is all these things, yet much more. Homecoming is more than a series of events every fall, it is a series of emotions. It is hearing the chimes and really enjoying them like I never did when I was late for class. It is leaning back on the sitting wall and realizing how far the University has come. It is talking with alumni and realizing we share a bond, even though they were at Southern well before or well after my time here.

Homecoming, in the final analysis, is returning to a place and realizing you belong. And always have. It’s good to be home.