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Disclosure: I probably wouldn't consider myself a true homecoming professional. More like a skilled amateur. I haven't been to a Bobcat homecoming game for a long time (upcoming 10/12/19), and thanks to kids and life and stuff, I can't make it to every high school homecoming football game either. But I've been to quite a few.

Homecoming games are a blast. I feel like they're especially fun in smaller towns, like Laurel. Go Locomotives! You get to see everybody you know. People are generally in a good mood. You get to wear all the team gear you've purchased to support the team, PTA, booster club, football club, etc. Plus, cheering on the home team is a common-bond and fun crowd experience that feels pretty good, right?

You gotta prepare to make homecoming the best experience. Here are some tips:

  • Wear your team gear. Duh. Bust out all your colors. Bring the pom-poms and noisemakers. Dye your kids' hair the team colors with that washable hair dye. When dressing, layering is key because you should always...
  • Prepare for weather. This should really be rule #1. Even "nice" weather this time of year gets pretty chilly when the sun goes down. That nice afternoon breeze can turn real cold, real quick. It could start raining or snowing. Wear layers. If you think you're going to be warm enough, double it. I kid you not.
  • Hand warmers are nice. Those disposable ones you can get by the box are great for stuffing into your boots, gloves or pockets when it starts snowing and blowing at the game.
  • Bleacher chairs. You don't have to go to a lot of games to realize that bleachers are notoriously uncomfortable. True fans bring those folding backrests that make sitting for two hours a lot more enjoyable. Sure, you gotta lug them around, but the trade-off is worth it.
  • Be nice to refs. This should go without saying, but when your team is losing it's really easy to start screaming at refs about what you feel are bad calls. It shows poor sportsmanship to kids and is generally rude.
  • Buy snacks. The refreshment stand at your home town game is almost always a fundraiser for high school sports. Getting a hot dog and some nachos or a pretzel is a great way to show your support. But if you're really hungry, be sure to also bring some of your own. Mmm, snacks.
  • Plan your parking. Or be patient getting out. A lot of high school parking lots in small towns are not really designed for hundreds of extra cars. Parking around Wendy's Field can be a bear, too. Plan accordingly.
  • Be considerate. This should also go without saying, but common courtesy to opposing team fans (no matter how annoying they might get) is just the right way to behave.

See you at the homecoming game. I'll be the guy bundled up like I'm going snowmobiling, with a large thermos of spiked coffee.