The homecoming mum:
I thought I would try something new and post from the game tonight. At this very moment I sit in a stadium that seats 20,000 people at a conservative estimate. It is an oddity that we play a varsity game on a Thursday night and it really does throw off the vibe for the week. Last week was our homecoming game and I was keenly aware of the electricity in the air throughout the week. The entire week was devoted to quasi forms of cosplay set to themes, a plethora of baked goods and activities surrounding voting of royalty, and a entirely too large amount of money on glow sticks, silly string, air horns and flashy light up things for a blackout pep rally to end the week.
Perhaps the most interesting part of the homecoming ritual, however, is the mum. I’m not sure if this is a Texas football thing or not, but the mum is the largest marker of class, desirability, social stratification, and irrevocable school devotion known to man, I’m sure. Not only do folks order the mum from local flower shops months before the day of revealing it to rest of the student population, the local craft stores stock as many things to decorate or build the homecoming mum as they do Christmas decorations.
Let me see if I can describe the mum for those who have never seen it. It is a concoction of ribbons which flow from the bottom of a faux chrysanthemum all echoing the school’s colors. On the ribbons are markers of class (freshman, senior, etc) the current pairing of mates, and denotations of extracurricular events. It’s the mid season letter jacket constructed of hot glue and adorned with bells and whistles; literally.
I enjoy the mum and all the crazy things it represents. Tonight I did a short poll (really only 5 people) who were all from states other than Texas. One of them knew what the mum was and she was from upstate New York (Doesn’t count). All in all, the mum represents Texas football: a large sometimes obnoxious business with a devoted fan base which often a gets to a point where we just need to evaluate what we are focused on. The young girl in the picture above is adorned with the most ostentatious mum I found.
Moorea Coker teaches AP Literature and adjuncts at a Junior college in Texas. Follow her on Twitter @polypel88 or reach her by email: firstname.lastname@example.org