The preparations for Brock University’s 2016 Homecoming weekend has begun and the excitement is growing. The weekend will begin with the annual men’s hockey Steel Blade Classic game on Friday night, followed by a list of games on Saturday (the schedule can be seen in the sports section).
This will be Brock’s 52nd Homecoming and 52nd without a football game. As I say that, I can almost guarantee that you will hear someone joke “Brock has been undefeated in football for 52 years”. More annoyingly, you’ll hear someone complain that Brock doesn’t have a football program and that not having one ruins Homecoming.
Can we stop with the Brock being undefeated in football jokes? More importantly, can we stop with the complaining of there being no football team? Both are 52 years outdated.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been guilty of making the Brock football jokes. However, I think it’s time we stop making these jokes, stop complaining and realize that Brock Homecoming is more successful than most of the other Ontario universities.
Most schools with football programs do sellout their Homecoming games, which is great. However, those same schools struggle to sellout any of their other regular season football games. Which is frustrating for the school and the team.
Whereas Brock has five of their sports teams playing at Homecoming this year, all on the same field or a two minute walk from each other. You don’t need a ticket to get into a game and you can move back and forth from game to game.
Last year Brock introduced the $1.5 million turf field at Homecoming, which saw the men and women’s lacrosse teams be the first to play on the field with soccer and rugby playing on fields not so far from it. This year the soccer teams will get a chance to play on Alumni Field along with men’s lacrosse. Rugby will be playing on the fields directly behind the turf.
It would be fun if Brock had a football team, but it’s even better having the chance to watch five Brock teams play over the course of one day.
Brock students are going to point at the Homecomings of Western, Guelph and McMaster – three of the best football programs in Ontario. Obviously winning programs make Homecoming fun, so the three schools listed above succeed.
But what about schools with weaker football programs? Waterloo lost their Homecoming game last year 42-0, York was defeated 49-22 at their Homecoming football game and Laurier lost their Homecoming game 22-18. In fact, besides Western, Guelph and McMaster, OUA football teams went 2-5 last season in their Homecoming games.
Brock teams went 2-4 last year at Homecoming, but almost every game was a must-watch. Both soccer teams lost 1-0 to York – York’s men’s team won the OUA championship last season and their women’s team got to the OUA semi-finals so for Brock’s teams to compete the way they did is great to see. Brock men’s lacrosse lost 15-13 to Western, but it was one of the best back and forth lacrosse games of the season. The women’s lacrosse team won 9-5, which was the first ever Brock win on Alumni Field. Men’s rugby beat Toronto and the women’s rugby team had a hard fought game versus Laurier.
This year Brock soccer takes on Algoma at Homecoming, and Algoma’s soccer programs are really struggling; the men’s lacrosse team faces Laurentian, who the Badgers lost to last year but have had tremendous success against in the past; And Brock’s rugby teams play Guelph, in which will be two very good games.
The highlight of Homecoming this year for Brock will be the Steel Blade Classic, which will be played downtown at the Meridian Centre and includes a tailgate party (something you don’t see at many Canadian university Homecomings). Last year the Steel Blade Classic saw 1,716 people in attendance and this year it’s expected to exceed over 2,000. More importantly, Brock men’s hockey will be looking for their sixth consecutive Steel Blade Classic win.
Having football at Homecoming would be fun, but having winning teams is better. So let’s stop with the jokes and complaints about there being no football program at Brock – if this school did have football, it’d take a few years before it would start winning anyways.
Therefore, enjoy Homecoming this year. Brock has winning programs and there’s a realistic chance that Brock wins at least five of the six games being played over the course of Friday and Saturday.
Football isn’t everything for a Homecoming weekend to be successful. For a successful Homecoming there needs to be student pride and spirit, staff and community involvement and winning teams – something Brock has all of.