The Evolution of the Homecoming Experience


Nicole DeBlasi

This year’s homecoming took place under the lights, another change in the event’s evolution.

Homecoming is the most anticipated Staples sporting event of the year, and for good reason. The game promises a crowd that could put some small colleges to shame, a team that is virtually unbeatable on homecoming, and an atmosphere that attracts Westporters from the elementary schools to the elderly homes.

Homecoming has been a big deal for as long as Coach Petroccio can remember. When he first started coaching in 1993, the team was nowhere near what he has evolved it into, but regardless of that he said, “You would’ve thought we hadn’t lost a game in 50 years.”

Fast-forward 20 years and it feels like we haven’t lost one game. The Staples football team has become one of the stronger teams in the state and their prowess is especially showcased during the homecoming game.

The game itself, however, is only a portion of what the entire Homecoming experience has become. Two events in particular have come and gone; they’ve had their peaks and hit their low points, but it wouldn’t be the same without them.

The pep rally used to be a high point of every student’s Friday afternoon. Students and faculty would gather in the gym and get seriously pepped up for the weekend’s game. Coach Petroccio recalled that back then, “You wouldn’t miss that for anything.”

The event used to feature skits done by the teams as opposed to a simple walk across the field or dance routine done by teams now. Staples athletic director, Marty Lisevick, recalls one skit in which the “Cross-country team came out to ‘It’s Raining Men’ with umbrellas.”

Unfortunately, it has developed into an event that most Staples students would be content with skipping. The pep rally was moved outside because of the sheer number of students Staples now has, and it has subsequently lost some of its luster. Staples senior George Inger ‘14 speaks for many students when he says, “It’s really not that enjoyable, if I had the choice I wouldn’t go.”

Along with the pep rally being on the decline, Staples also cut out the Homecoming dance. Staples faculty didn’t want to see the event go, but it needed to be done. Mr. Lisevick mentioned, “Kids didn’t go” towards the end and the decision was made to no longer include it in the weekend’s festivities.

Despite what the event as a whole has lost, the main attraction, the game, has only gotten better. The Staples football team had been lobbying for lights on the field since 1994. Just last year they finally had them installed and the first game under the lights was Homecoming.

The game was on a Tuesday, so not all students were able to attend. Now that the game took place on a Friday, there was no excuse not to be there. This is a game that has been decades in the making, the first ever Staples homecoming game under the lights.