Dimon Kendrick-Holmes: Observations from homecoming

October 18, 2013 

On Thursday night, Columbus High School students and fans finally got to attend their own homecoming game.

Two weeks ago, the Blue Devils were the homecoming opponent at LaGrange, and I noticed one dramatic change from the last time Columbus visited Callaway Stadium: No more hobbies listed for members of the homecoming court.

Back in 2011, the P.A. announcer said things like, “In her spare time, Shelly enjoys visiting Taco Bell with her friends and hunting squirrels with her shotgun.”

When a high school announcer begins a sentence with “In her spare time …” you know it’s going to be good.

I’ll never forget back in the ’80s when the homecoming announcer at my high school introduced a girl named Patty, who was perched in the back seat of a shiny car and waving to the crowd.

“In her spare time,” the announcer boomed, “Patty enjoys shopping, talking on the phone and serving at the hospital as a Candy Stripper.”

The crowd applauded wildly. Of course, he’d meant to say that Patty was a Candy Striper, the group of volunteers known for their striped jumpers.

This year at LaGrange, visitors from Columbus were looking forward to hearing more about what the homecoming court does in their spare time. You know, because we needed something to take our mind off the game.

Instead, the announcer gave an account of each student’s academic record and listed the college she hoped to attend. Boring.

Last week, the Blue Devils were the homecoming opponent at Fayette County. At halftime, we figured the proceedings would be more down to earth and we’d find out what they did in their spare time. Maybe there was a hunter or two in the court.

Alas, we’ll never know. That’s because the announcer stuck to academic achievement. The only thing mildly interesting about it was the colleges the girls planned to attend. The list included Harvard, Yale and MIT.

Now I’m sure they’ve got some smart young ladies in Fayette County, but I also know that universities haven’t sent out acceptance letters yet.

On Thursday night, the members of the CHS homecoming court weren’t quite as presumptuous. For most of them, the announcer stated that they planned to attend college but didn’t say where. The only school I heard mentioned was the University of Alabama.

For the visitors from Troup, it probably seemed like more of the same.

But they didn’t know that the girl who rushed onto the field wearing cleats and a softball uniform had nearly missed the festivities because of a rain delay during that afternoon’s state playoff game.

She was Sydney Sprague, who hit a two-run homer in the game and will be playing softball in the SEC next fall.

The guests also didn’t know that the girl being escorted by a Columbus Police Department corporal was the daughter of Lynn Joiner, a much-loved police officer who died less than a month ago.

She was Hillary Sargent, and the announcer veered from the usual script and told the crowd what she wanted them to know about her.

And what was that?

That she liked horror movies and hot wings.

Yes!

May you and your team feel like winners on your homecoming, even if the scoreboard doesn’t show it.

Contact Dimon Kendrick-Holmes, executive editor, at dkholmes@ledger-enquirer.com

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