I stepped outside of the University of Guelph athletic centre, and immediately was immersed in a sea of red, black and yellow tights, crop tops, hair bands, sweaters and body paint. As I walked towards Alumni field, it hit me; I was no longer in Marauder territory anymore, and I no longer felt welcome.
People were shouting out cheers as loud as they could outside of the stadium, and the line-up to actually get in was incredibly long. This wasn`t just your typical homecoming weekend; it was homecoming weekend at the University of Guelph, and everyone was ready to get wild.
I was not alone, however, in my anxiety while watching the Marauders play in intense- and somewhat Hollywood sports movie-like conditions. There were many other Marauder fans in attendance for the full-capacity game – multiple buses worth of students.
They wore their maroon and grey loud and proud, and suffered a great deal of chirping and heckling from the rowdy Gryphon crowd. I remember seeing four Marauder fans in front of me, while everyone else was clearly cheering for the home team.
All of a sudden, one drunk guy started to boo, and the entire crowd joined in. Then chants of “fuck McMaster” broke out, and the four Marauder students laughed uncomfortably, but all in all, took the beat-up quite well.
“Go back to your shitty city,” shouted another Guelph fan, which is all in good fun, but always a little bit offensive for the proud Hamiltonian, or proud McMaster student. As the cheers got worse, the weather got worse, and as the weather got worse, the attendance got worse.
It began to be a lot easier to tell who actually gave a damn about the Gryphons football team, and who just wanted to dress up and get drunk. About 40-50 percent of the crowd left at half-time. Yeah, the weather was pretty awful, there were periods of heavy rain, and it had poured pretty much all morning, but come on, it was homecoming, the game was extremely close, and some people just threw in the towel at possibly the worst time to go find a party.
I compared the cheers during the game to our cheers here at Mac, and some of them were the same. One of the cheers went “Mac are pussies” and it confused me, because I thought it made absolutely no sense.
They also do the cheer “one, we are from Mac, two, a little bit louder, three, I still can’t hear you, four, more, more, more, more…one…” except they substitute “we are from Mac” with “we are Gryphons”. Yeah, I thought it didn’t sound right either. But a lot of their cheers were different than ours.
I don’t know if it’s because the Maroons lead the majority of the cheers at the Ron Joyce stadium, but we never really get too inappropriate and offensive here at Mac.
I don’t know if that is a reflection of the modesty we have here, or the fantastic people that choose to come to this school, but I’d say it is a good thing.
Don’t get me wrong, it was awesome being surrounded by 12,000 drunk students for the first half, and it was awesome being awarded free wings for being the loudest section at the game and the Gryphon experience for me was fun, and interesting, but it was also pretty over-rated.
I don’t know if the awful weather set it up that way, but I felt as though I had huge expectations going into it, and was pretty let down by the whole thing. Part of the let- down also stemmed from the fact that if you wanted to go downtown at night, you had to leave really early, because there were line-ups at every bar that were an hour long by 10:00 p.m.
If you wanted to go anywhere, you had to walk, or take the bus (which sometimes would not come) because the cab system there is seriously flawed and hardly convenient.
I know that Mac’s homecoming this year will be different than the Guelph homecoming. I don’t expect there to be 12,000 people in the stands, shouting profanities at everyone. I also don’t expect there to be any major issue with taking a cab anywhere at night. It will be an experience of school pride, and when it comes to university homecoming weekends, nobody does it better than us.