For better or worse, homecoming not what it used to be

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 4, 2003

Friday night some Tiger football fans looking for seats at the homecoming game had to walk over to the south side &045; the visitors’ side &045; because the home side of the field was overcrowded.

Ted Herman, a 1983 graduate of Albert Lea High School, remembers when the south side was twice the size and reserved for and packed with Albert Lea students, and the north side was reserved for parents and visitors.

&uot;This is a small crowd,&uot; he said, comparing it to when he went to school. &uot;But it’s a lot better.&uot;

Email newsletter signup

Herman said attendance at homecoming games and football games in general has increased in the last few years.

It’s difficult to pinpoint when things changed. But for better and worse, homecoming isn’t what it once was. While it used to be more of a football-centered event for returning alumni, now it is more of a celebration of school spirit for students.

Dan Dorman, class of ’81, said with more activities for kids, fewer go to the game than when he was a student.

&uot;Back then it was the thing to do,&uot; he said. &uot;Everybody came to the game whether you liked football or not.&uot;

He said after returning to Albert Lea in the late ’80s, he noticed that the game had less attendance and the south side of the field had become the visitors’ side.

At field day activities earlier in the afternoon, Jim Muggli, who’s taught at the school since 1968, said he likes many of the changes he’s seen in homecoming. He said the focus on students has been a trend since the early ’70s.

Surrounded by an inflatable climbing tower, inflatable bull, and other inflatable games with the sound of the powder puff game in the background, Muggli said there are more non-sports related activities to occupy students.

He said the carnival atmosphere gives kids a chance to &uot;get all that out of their system &045; let them scream and jump and holler.&uot;

He said he credits part of the change to the moving the high school to Hammer road.

&uot;What can you do downtown? It’s another plus of moving out here.&uot;

Teacher Ken Fiscus, who was celebrating homecoming with a cherry red jacket that looked like

a tomato, said that homecoming has improved. There’s less hazing and vandalism during the week than in years past, he said.

&uot;There wasn’t much constructive fun. I didn’t look forward to it,&uot; he said.

But he said he enjoys it now. He credits part of the change to student leaders who were told, &uot;This is not what you want to be remembered for.&uot;

(Contact Tim Sturrock at or 379-3438.)