Cows come home with a bang

It’s only once every two years that Amherst comes to Williams for Homecoming, and it’s only once in a lifetime that “ESPN’s College GameDay” makes an appearance at Weston Field. This year’s Homecoming was crazy – people crowded around the giant screen showing “GameDay” as it was being broadcast and displayed their school spirit, trying to capture their 15 minutes of fame on national television. Despite the frigid temperatures, several people donned nothing but pants and paint, while others suited up as cows. Purple and gold Homecoming t-shirts spotted the crowd. Indeed, it was a spirited beginning for the celebratory day.

Away from the cameras, the celebrations continued at the tailgates. Neighborhoods, houses, entries and sports teams welcomed students and alumni and competed to host the best tailgate. At the Wood tailgate, students wore their neighborhood’s “Amherst Sucks . . . Wood” t-shirts, while Woody Williams, the neighborhood giraffe, donned a festive purple and yellow hat with braids as he perched on the roof of the car. Wood offered a great assortment of treats, including some especially delicious cream cheese and lobster wontons. Right next to the Wood tailgate was the Spencer tailgate, decorated to look like a big pirate ship in keeping with its “getting booty since 2006” theme. Spencer served up barbecue and kebabs hot off the “deck.” Perhaps the funniest, albeit most cringe-worthy, neighborhood tailgate was Currier’s, which had a giant udder on the top of the car. Currier did reduce the gross-out factor of the udder a bit by serving cute “Eph-krispie treats,” essentially Rice Krispie treats made with purple and yellow cereal. Last but not least in the lineup was Dodd, which had a maritime theme complete with waves and the words “Ephs sail to victory” painted on the side of the car. Best of all, Dodd had a decorating station for sea creature-shaped cookies.

Similarly adorable was the very girly tailgate of Bibi Metsch-Garcia ’09. Metsch-Garcia’s tailgate was decorated with balloons, and had a display of cute mini-cupcakes as well as a big, well-decorated Homecoming-themed cake. The tailgate also had a big sign with the menu written out in cursive letters.

Not too far away, the tailgate of Annie Schneidman ’08 exuded school spirit: photos of football players were tacked all over the car. The Rectory and Hoxsey’s joint tailgate also used photos as decoration – the photos showed the house residents, their friendships and their house spirit. “We are all good friends with each other,” Anna Merritt ’08 said. “We put up a funny picture of each person, plus our friends who live elsewhere. It [is] kind of sad, since we’re graduating, but we decided to go all out.”

And of course, as per tradition, plenty of entries had their own small tailgates. First-years stood around, eating burgers and getting excited for the game. The entry tailgates were pretty low key with the exception of the tailgate for Mills-Dennett 1. There, JA Elissa Brown ’09 was all decked out in a yellow plastic wig as she served baked goods. The tailgate was decorated as “Ye Olde Red Barn” and even featured a black roof. “We had a little red car, so we decided to make a roof and turn it into ‘Ye Olde Red Barn’ to fit in with all the other tailgate cars decorated as cows,” Brown said. “The fact that our barn [is] way smaller than most of the ‘cows’ is irrelevant.”

But the tailgate with the best food was, as usual, AASiA’s tailgate, which served sticky rice and Korean barbecued ribs – if it was not the tastiest food at Homecoming, it was at least the most exotic.

Despite their many merits, none of the tailgates could hold a candle to that of the ski team. “We … try to outdo ourselves each year,” Charles Christianson ’09 said. “Our theme [is] Ultimate Tailgate – good food [and] lots of it, streamers, car paint, lawn chairs, Lord Jeff mascot and to be bigger and louder than anyone else.” And it was – together, the Nordic and alpine ski teams had four cars. One was decorated as a giant, glorious purple cow, and another had a model of Lord Jeff impaled on its roof. The skiers had been cooking since 9 a.m. and had enough food – chicken, ribs, salmon, bacon and pork – to feed an army.

Indeed, while America was watching, Williams rose to the occasion and hosted a standout Homecoming.

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