This past weekend thousands of students, staff, alumni and members of the greater St. Catharines took part in one of Brock University’s most spirited event: Homecoming.
Brought to the Brock community by Brock University Students Union (BUSU,) Varsity athletics, Student Life and Community Experiences and several other organizations within the university, the pandemonium around celebrating what it means to be a Badger was easily seen, heard and felt by all who participated.
Although an overcast sky and constant drizzle made for a classic St. Catharines day, the weather couldn’t stop the mob of red, blue and white that literally took over the school. The sense of camaraderie amongst all participants was evident through random cheers, expressions of pride and the clinking of glasses.
Isaac’s Army is a group of passionate students and staff who parade on campus to support both varsity sports and the Brock morale amongst members of the university. Isaac’s Army coordinator, Paul Dermody said the over arching goal for the day was to get more interaction with more students and inspire all members of school to join the Brock Badgers movement of spirit.
Homecoming is a North American tradition that welcomes alumni and current students to celebrate a school’s athletics, culture and spirit. One of the most common questions that we hear is “How can you have a homecoming without a football team?”
“We don’t need one to celebrate all that we are. Brock is a very unique University built upon fantastic students, staff, alumni, future students and members of the community. That combination in itself is something to celebrate” said Dermody.
Dermody stated that the hype surrounding Homecoming was evident from the beginning of last week. Homecoming packages were available for purchase and ranged from $15-$30, based on the package chosen.
“It’s incredible to see how the whole process develops. Four years ago, ‘homecoming’ was just starting, with two kids selling t-shirts. Now we’re here, and we have something to give back to this school” said Dermody.
Dermody said it was clear from the beginning of the week that this year’s homecoming was bound to be bigger and better than ever before. “Within the first half hour of selling, the line was all the way back to the campus store. We sold out of packages in two days. It shows our students knew this would be an awesome event”.
While the traditions all started back in ’64, last week various events took place across campus and no matter what, there was a sense of something bigger. A Homecoming kick off party as Isaacs started the week and Badgers definitely proved that our weekends start on Thursdays. Then over 1000 students participated in the annual Grape Stomp in Jubilee court on Friday, one of the messiest traditions of the Niagara Wine Country culture.
That night drew five bus loads of Badgers to watch the men’s hockey team participate in the The RBC Steel Blade Classic against the Wildred Lauier Golden Hawks. In making one of the biggest comeback ins school history, the Badgers prevailed with the third straight win in overtime, 6-5. The amount of spirit from the students carried the boys’ all the way home.
Saturday started with the “Red Out” party at Isaacs, a watering hole for students to begin the celebrations before the official kick-off pep rally. When the party was moved over to the main playing fields, a “sea of red” march down University road, lead by none other than Sir Isaac Brock himself, on horseback no less.
Although the most critical events of the day took place with the Homecoming athletics. Women’s soccer put up a valiant effort and took an early lead in the game, but lost to Western University. The women’s rugby team also lost 22-5 against Waterloo. For the gentlemen, the Western Mustangs beat the Badgers in the 3-1 game of soccer, and then Guelph Gryphons took over Brock with a 12-5 win in rugby. But no matter what the score, the support from the stands was always present, as Badgers decked out inspirit wear cheered on the teams through the rain.
The night wrapped with a packed house for indie-rock band Arkells. Having played at Brock back in 2010, the audience of first year students to alumni, eagerly welcomed back the boys for another show. Although a large crowd was present, so was an intimate feeling as the band played hit songs like “No Champagne Socialist” and ” John Lennon”. Mixing in some oldies like Jackson 5 and Rock the Casbah, the boys thrilled the crowd with their energetic performance. The crowd went nuts for a rocked out version of Miley Cyrus’ “We Can’t Stop”.
So as another homecoming comes to an end the remnants of red, blue and white face paint are finally washed away, the 18,000 present Brock students join the already graduated 80,000 in celebrating another year of tradition, passion and pride. If this weekend’s weather conditions say anything about Brock, it’s that the community is immensely proud of the athletics, morale and culture present at this school.
To Dermody, the support rallied from this weekend is an indication of the spirit at Brock. “The gears are starting to turn now. Homecoming is
here to stay”.
Students looking to get involved with Isaac’s Army can email Dermody at firstname.lastname@example.org.