Matt Snell-

It is uncertain exactly where and when the first homecoming was held.  However, homecoming celebrations can be seen as far back as the early 1900’s, and one thing that they almost all have in common is a football game as the center piece.

At UWStout, the same tradition is followed.  The homecoming game is a large focal point of the weekend.  Not only is it an important part for the university, but it is also important for the students as well.

With a heightened sense of school pride amongst the students and the return of many loyal alumni, the attendance of the game last weekend was at a season high.  It was this increasingly loud fan base and the emotion generated throughout the week that would normally play an essential role in the minds of the Blue Devil football team, and particularly in the mind of wide receiver Chris Pica-Anderson (Sr, Eleva, Wis.).  Even though the Blue Devils lost to the UWLa Crosse Eagles in a 42-6 contest last weekend, the support from the student and alumni fan bases meant a lot.

“The atmosphere in the stadium on homecoming is something special. It is this type of atmosphere that sets it apart from just any other game. The crowd plays a huge role, and they have been awesome at dressing up and cheering loud for us. Makes the atmosphere a great place to play in as a player.”

Along with the increased sense of pride and emotion within the atmosphere of the stadium, there was also the opportunity for miscues and falling to other distractions during the week.  However, Pica-Anderson pointed out before the game that this was not a particular concern for the team.

“We attack every week with the same mentality. To get better, and prepare for who we are playing that week. With that being said, with homecoming comes a lot of distractions with the festivities on campus, the parade, the alumni coming back, etc. We try to tune these things out and stay focused on the task at hand. I believe homecoming does have an effect on our team with feeding off the crowd’s energy while we play, and just the mentality of making sure we play well, have pride for playing for our school, and to win the game for our students/community.”

Although the final score would have UWStout on the wrong end of the scoreboard, the benefits of a homecoming crowd showed early on.  The Blue Devils were able to score on their first two drives, kicking field goals on each and stopping the UWLa Crosse offense both times.  Unfortunately, it seemed that the homecoming advantage just wasn’t quite enough, and the Blue Devils weren’t quite able to keep up the momentum the rest of the game.