Lane students usually imagine the annual homecoming game on a Friday night, the sky dark, the bright lights illuminating the players on the field as loud cheers and the occasional rendition of “Go Lane Go” burst throughout the crowd.
However, this year, the homecoming football game will be on Saturday, Sept. 22 at 12 p.m., and four hours later, the homecoming dance will take place.
The decision to move the homecoming football game to a Saturday afternoon was announced in a daily General Student News email, sent out on June 15.
“We are expecting a huge crowd and have some planned festivities in the works to make our annual spirit week and homecoming experience special,” the email read.
According to Anthony Faltin, the head coach of the Football Team, there have been issues in the past because of alumni and parents who wanted to attend the game, but they couldn’t get to the stadium in time because of work and heavy traffic.
“We’re trying to alleviate problems, make it more convenient, not only for the administration and teachers, but for alumni and our fan base,” Faltin said. “Now everyone has an opportunity to be here.”
According to Faltin, moving the game to a Saturday afternoon will help reduce the issues that occur after the game, such as fights, arrests, and intoxicated students.
“After the game, we’re not going to have any nonsense because people have to go get ready — they’ve got the dance that night,” Faltin said.
Additionally, Faltin supports the decision to move homecoming to a Saturday because he thinks it will be better for his players.
“As a football coach, I’m thinking about my team,” Faltin said. “I want to make sure that they’re in bed early on Friday, and they get a good night’s sleep. Now they can wake up in the morning… get some breakfast in them… and there’s no nonsense, no distractions.”
This year’s game will be against Lincoln Park, a neighborhood rival whom Lane hasn’t played in years, according to Faltin.
“I’m sure Lincoln Park’s going to bring a bunch of fans; we’re gonna bring our fan base, and we’ll have a great competitive game, and after hopefully, we’re able to take care of business and win the ballgame, what do you have left? Go get pretty and have fun at the dance,” Faltin said.
Natalie Rodriguez, the head coach of Dance Team, says that moving the homecoming game to a Saturday afternoon hasn’t affected her team much.
“I think the atmosphere of it being on a Friday night was always fun, just because [of] the football game at night, and everybody’s here and it’s exciting,” Rodriguez said. “During the day [it] might be a little bit different, but I don’t think it’s necessarily going to be a bad thing.”
The biggest change this year with preparing for homecoming has been the early schedule, according to Rodriguez.
Last year, the homecoming football game was supposed to be on Friday, Oct. 6, but this year, the game is on Sep. 22, two weeks earlier.
Although moving the game to a Saturday afternoon has not had the most significant effect on Dance Team, the accelerated schedule has pushed the team to focus on learning routines over summer break, according to Rodriguez.
“We haven’t been able to focus on technique type things, [we’re] going right into doing routines to get ready,” Rodriguez said.
Despite the accelerated schedule and challenges along with it, the Dance Team is still excited to perform at this year‘s homecoming, according to Rodriguez.
“They’re just interested to see how it’s gonna go. If anything, they’re just excited that there is a football game this year,” Rodriguez said.
The biggest change to homecoming traditions this year will be the added “festivities” that were hinted at in the June 15 email. This will include a tailgate prior to the start of the game.
The tailgate is intended to mimic a college football Saturday game day. All sports teams will be invited, and each program will be able to sell their fanwear, according to Faltin. There will also be fundraising activities such as a dunk tank and a basketball shootout.
“It should be a really good time,” Faltin said. “Homecoming is a special day, it’s a big tradition here at Lane, and I want to make sure that everyone has the opportunity to be there.”