By: Devon Machande
UMW’s traditional Homecoming tailgate has been postponed to the spring due to the high local rates of COVID-19, according to the UMW Athletics website. However, there will still be many athletic events throughout the weekend of Oct. 22-23 with free parking for those who wish to attend and support the competing varsity sports.
On Sept. 23, it was announced that a special spring Homecoming will take place in April 2022. This event will have all the festivities of a typical Homecoming celebration, just for spring sports.
Some fall athletes are worried about low attendance now that the tailgate has been postponed.
“Without the tailgate, it is going to be more difficult to attract people to our game,” said biomedical sciences major and soccer player Mary Mockenahupt. “Coming off of the COVID year we just had, we have been waiting for Homecoming and, unfortunately, this year it just will not be the same. This is especially disappointing for our senior class since they now have to miss out on another Homecoming tailgate.”
While the student body is unable to show its support through the tailgate festivities, the UMW community may still attend games and cheer on UMW teams as they compete.
“There has been a lot of support during the sporting events which has immensely helped everyone and has helped get life back to normal,” said sophomore Dimitri Jordan, an undeclared major on the men’s soccer team.
The Homecoming tailgate is a traditional event that occurs at the Battleground Athletic Complex parking lot. In previous years, attendees, alumni, clubs and other vendors have been given the option to purchase a space to set up their personal spots for the tailgates. Those who chose not to purchase a space could instead buy a regular ticket to join in on the festivities.
Alcohol could also be purchased by attendees who are of age. Students, alumni and faculty all gathered together to mingle and celebrate UMW athletes as they prepared for their games.
Freshman and sophomores may have never experienced the fall tailgate due to COVID.
“I am upset for all the people who are missing the experience,” said Jordan.
Claudia Keller, a UMW alumna with a degree in business administration and marketing, is disappointed by the fall tailgate’s cancellation.
“I am very sad about it,” said Keller. “It is the one time we get to celebrate all the alumni coming back and support the rest of our sports teams by cheering them on.”
Some have said that postponing the fall tailgate has decreased their school spirit.
“I don’t feel the same excitement I did in the past years. It feels as if it’s not as important,” said Keller.
For some of the athletes playing during Homecoming weekend, anticipation is running high.
“I am thrilled to have the opportunity to represent the school as well as compete alongside my teammates for victory,” said Jordan.
Nonetheless, many are still excited for the UMW community to attend their games.
“Considering that last year fall sports were not allowed to participate in any competition, we are finally back and we would love to see everyone supporting us!” said Mockenhaupt. “This is always a fun weekend and having the support from the university and the students would mean a lot to my team and me.”