Remember your first few weeks of high school? You learned where your classes were, tried to impress new coaches, and realized that you better figure out how to get a date for the Homecoming Dance. Back then Homecoming Weekend would include a bon fire, pep rally, a parade, and the big football game. Then you would clean up real nice, put on a suit or dress, swap a corsage for a boutonniere, and hit the school gym, which was gussied up as best as possible with streamers and balloons, to dance the night away to Modern English and Van Halen (yes, 80’s kid here). It was a pure and focused expression of school spirit and local pride. It was fun. It was tradition.
But why is it called Homecoming?
The reason given always mentions the returning of alum to visit their old home and take part in the nostalgia. That living history is part of it, but in all honesty, the current students and athletes seem to be way more into it than the alum. In reality, Homecoming is more a way for those kids to develop a love of their hometown, to nurture that sense of team pride, and to celebrate being young and together. There is a reason it is held every fall, just as the season and school year begin. It is the best way to bring everyone together and tell them “This is home”.
And that’s why Park Ridge Football and Cheer has our own Homecoming. Each year for one weekend, Park Ridge parents organize decorated car caravans to the games, Park Ridge Flag Footballers paint their hair in team colors, Park Ridge Falcon tackle football players don extra eye black, and Park Ridge Cheerleaders hold team banners for the players to smash through. Then, after each game everyone gets to gorge themselves on pizza and treats.
Park Ridge Football, for over 50 years, has been all about tradition. It’s tradition like this that helps our kids know how special our town is, how important community is, and where home is. And while Park Ridge Football and Cheer Homecoming might not include nearly enough dancing to Van Halen, the kids do seem to enjoy it.