I have a friend whose entire family returns to Oklahoma State University on the eve of the HomeComing Game. They fly or drive, bringing kids and grandkids to watch the parade, walk the campus, and spend a bucket of money at the football game.
In our family, our end-of-summer tradition is: we dig potatoes.
I know…pause here, and let the stupidness of the event roll over you.
It wasn’t meant to be a tradition. It began as a way for tired parents to keep a toddler from chasing the cat or trotting over to the next county.
And what could be better than sanctioned dirt-time?
With each shovelful of soil, spuds would break from their hiding spots. And Scout screamed “TAAAAY TOOOOOE,” scurrying to pluck them out, before they disappeared back into the soil (which was what he assumed would happen, based on his experience with redworms). His height (or rather the lack of it) gave him the advantage of nabbing the tater before an adult could get to it.
The game had everything that appealed to a lad’s inner core: filth, competition, seeking, and gross stuff like grubs, frogs, and the occasional snake. I suppose that’s why each September, when I say, “It’s time to dig potatoes.” Scout shows up, bucket and shovel in hand.
We no longer push and shove over who picks up the tubers. Now, it’s usually me because I’m nearer the ground than anyone in the family. But we still get dirty. We still throw worms at each other, and at some point, one of us will yell, “Taaaay tooooe.”
Fortunately for us, HOMECOMING includes all kinds of games.