Back to 1922: football match organized to bring the old ones home | Soccer BG

Nicholas Bowers | Sports journalist

This year, Bowling Green State University is celebrating its annual homecoming weekend. Between September 15 and 17, former students will return to town to reminisce about their time here, reconnect with friends they made, and enjoy all that the community has to offer. This year is a special occasion; the celebration of the 100th homecoming. Since the first celebration in 1922, the festivities have grown and evolved considerably. It’s important to look back to see how far we’ve come as a university and the Falcon community.

BGSU was relatively late in jumping on the homecoming celebration trend. Modern celebrations are widely credited with being first started by the University of Illinois in 1910, hosting the first widely publicized football game to attract alumni. There is evidence to suggest that other universities held annual alumni football games dating back to the early 20th century.

Homecoming celebrations were first held at the university by the Bowling Green Alumni Association. According to the 1924 BGSU Key Yearbook, the alumni organization was “organized [on] June 15, 1921, to foster and maintain graduate interest in their Alma Mater.

The initial primary responsibility of this organization was to foster school spirit among alumni. The primary organizers of the first homecoming game were Ivan E. Lake and Dr. Clayton C. Kohl. They were both the heads of the “Win-One Club”, an organization intended to promote the institution in any way possible. The date has been set for Nov. 4, the final conference game of the season for the Falcons, who will face rival Toledo Rockets at home.

The competition was highly anticipated by students and graduates. The campus newspaper, then known as the Bee-Gee News, reported on October 20, 1922 that the upcoming event “appears to be one of the big dates on the local college calendar now; for that is when many former students and graduates will return to their Alma Mater for a day of fun.

The event was widely publicized, particularly at the Northwest Ohio Teacher’s Institute in Toledo, a professional organization to which thousands of BG alumni belonged.

The day itself was filled with activity, where the festivities began at 9 a.m. with a mass welcome meeting in the university auditorium, followed by a parade to the county fairgrounds. at 1 pm. The game itself started at 2:30 p.m. a fierce fight, ending in a 6-6 tie. BG would win its final game against Kent State the following week, ending the 1922 campaign 4-2-1.

Other notable opponents that season included Findlay University, Adrian College and Defiance University. After the game, the alumni snake-dancing uptown, led by a 1902 Cadillac, described as “vintage” by the student newspaper. The Snake Dance is a 1920s slang term for an informal, festive parade of people.

Downtown, there would be group meetings for alumni of various organizations or schools, allowing alumni to reconnect and chat. The day would end with a reception at the University Gymnasium at 8:00 a.m.

About two thousand people attended the football game and about five hundred of them were alumni. The student newspaper published a glowing review of the day, two weeks later.

According to the November 20 edition of the Bee-Gee News, “Much of the credit for the day’s success must be attributed to Ivan Lake, President of the Win-One Club. It was Lake who planned this day and designed it to succeed.

Homecoming games would continue to evolve, change and grow every year. As you celebrate coming home this weekend, think back to those who came before you. The world they lived in was noticeably different from ours, but perhaps we as people are more like them than we realize.

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