Sunday, October 15, 2006

I'm never going back to my old school

Ah, Homecoming.

It was always my favorite time of year as an active. Getting all the old guys to come back and visit - especially the ones who seldom kept in touch - for one whole weekend of drinking and football and hijinx...well, it just couldn't be beat.

As the years went on, that pretty much stayed true. Except lately, Keith and I (with help from a few others) had to organize the monster, so the dynamic changed a bit. But still - it's the one time of year where guys come from Arizona and Northern Michigan and God Knows Where Else to celebrate being us. ATOs. Adrian alumni.

This year, though, was different. I was still looking forward to it, but I wasn't nearly as excited as in past years. I'm tired, I'm busy, I'm stressed, and lately I've been feeling a bit burnt out by the whole Adrian College thing.

New chapter, new president, big changes on campus - it's hardly the Adrian I knew from a few years ago. That Adrian only exists in the stories we tell and the memories we share. The campus belongs to someone else now.

But with the arrival of Neff and Gugin and Dan and everyone else, a lot of that hesitation went away. We went to dinner Friday night (twice!), had our big brew-ha-ha about a new (old?) house, and saw a few surprise members return. Things were looking up - especially now that Keith has so graciously taken over the BOT as president.

Saturday was the tent by Cornelius, and then the game, and seeing Andrea and Shanita and tons of long-lost friends from school at the new stadium. There were kids doing jello shots in the endzone. I drank a few beers in the student section. Adrian's football team was winning. This was definitely a new school.

Saturday night we headed to the ATO banquet at the Elks for drinks and dinner and singing and lots of picture taking. A mix of old and new, Docking and actives, Elardo dancing and pledges finding out what it means to be a part of something that doesn't end with graduation. After dinner we found ourselves with little to do - nothing but roaming around campus, watching beer pong, and sitting in the new student center, wondering where the hell Adrian is taking this group of kids. It's the Great Mystery: Will mentioned how the changes are coming so fast the students can barely keep up.

Imagine what it's like to be an alumni, returning after X amount of years...

And so I'm taking a step back, watching from the visitors section - where I've probably belonged for all these years. Knowing me, I'll be back. I can't not participate in the place I love so much, a square mile that has given me so much, and to a school I've given so much of myself.

I'm never going back to my old school, because it no longer exists in a physical place.

It's only in the memories I share with my brothers and my friends. And that's where it will stay, forever and ever.

(to see photos from the weekend, go here)

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