The Wide Angle: Homecoming royalty does not fall off a car

Published 5:26 pm Friday, October 1, 2021

With Austin High School’s Homecoming this past week and Lyle-Pacelli’s next week, I thought I would reflect on my own homecoming experiences.

It goes back a number of years of course. Some important events of my time in high school included Washington defeating Buffalo in the Super Bowl, compact discs surpass cassette tapes as the preferred music medium and the Fall of Rome.

You got me. I’m not that old in the grand scheme of things, but it’s pushing it as far as I’m comfortable with and I’m comfortable with a lot of things.

One surprising fact you may not be aware of is I was on the homecoming court simply because of numbers. In no way was this hunka, hunka burning love you know now cool enough then to be considered odds on favorite to be homecoming king.

Odds on favorite to fall off the car in the homecoming parade? Absolutely, especially considering my imposing 5 foot, 10-inch frame was sliding off the polished windshield and hood the entire length of the parade.

But there I was. The geeky, yet strangely adorable version of 1992 (well 1991 technically) me, standing awkwardly on stage as the crown was shifted from head to head to head.

If memory serves me right, there were three of us in the running for the coveted throne of Chandler-Lake Wilson Homecoming King. Two athletes and me.

“But Eric,” you might be inclined to remind me. “You were once an athlete. You played baseball.”

Point of fact — yes, I did play baseball, but I also flirted with football and basketball. However, I dropped the latter two eventually.

The 5-10 version of me wasn’t conducive to football. I made it through junior high before deciding it was in the best interest of continuing to live that maybe I would not go out for football any longer.

Was I a complete failure? No. I once rumbled off a nearly 30-yard run in my last year of junior high gridiron. Mostly side-to-side in a vain attempt to outrun the Reaper in the guise of junior high opposing players that looked suspiciously like red-shirt freshman for the University of Minnesota, but in the end — 30 yards baby.

I dropped basketball as well, but that was mostly because I really wasn’t that good. Turns out, when you have to launch the ball from your hip to make the shot, you have to really, really be open. I mean like standing-in-a-field open — with a stiff breeze to the basket for good measure.

Watching a teammate be forced to apologize to a basketball for kicking it was a little weird as well, but that’s a story for my memoirs: “Tales of a Talentless Kid” or “How Not to Make A Caramel Apple.”

Remind me to tell you that story sometime. Believe it or not — it is a basketball story.

So where was I? Right, my quest for homecoming glory.

Actually, that’s about it. I remember very little else of the week or weekend. I’m sure there was a dance, I more than likely played in the band and walked around the football field at halftime, waving at the crowd as a reminder of what they could have had.

Alas, it was my last quest for true high school glory in the annals of homecoming. The rest of senior year played out as it does, filled with memories you randomly pull out of nowhere at weird times.

I’ll let you know when the next weird time comes about. Usually Saturdays. You are reading my column after all.