Homecoming is a big deal in the Midwest. In fact, Missouri and Illinois constantly argue over who actually invented it in the early 20th century. I attended the University of Missouri and this past weekend was my fourth homecoming. By all standards, I would consider myself a seasoned veteran. Turns out, I couldn’t have been more wrong.
In case you’ve been living anywhere else in the country besides SEC country, my Tigers have been going gangbusters all over the SEC this season, and had the chance to virtually clinch the SEC East title this past weekend against a bruised and battered South Carolina team who was starting their backup quarterback.
Needless to say, I was excited for homecoming weekend. I spent just one day back on campus, because there was no way in hell I could survive 48 hours in a college town. I just can’t do it anymore. Pro tip: Never do more than two days. I don’t care how young you are or how hard you can go. Three days will make you and your friends hate you. Luckily, I managed to do that in just one day.
I spent the first part of the day drinking beer on bar patios around the town. It was just a gorgeous day. The kind of day that made me want to do cartwheels through a field and have a picnic. Instead, I put an incredibly irresponsible amount of alcohol into my body.
The day continued on and we showed up at my fraternity’s alumni tailgate where the sight of long lost friends caused me to want to drink more alcohol and have even more fun. At one point, I jumped up on a bench and led the house’s drinking song. God, I was alive again. Meanwhile, everyone else was probably saying to themselves, “Who the fuck is this old guy leading our drinking song?”
I saw people that I hadn’t seen in years. The nostalgia was poured on by the bucket. It was almost overwhelming at one point. It always is on homecoming weekend. That’s the beauty of it. So naturally, I wanted to remember none of it.
The game kicked off at 6pm and we wanted to grab a table at our favorite bar before it got snatched up by the hordes of alums that had descended upon downtown Columbia. Also, if you’re ever in Columbia, I highly suggest drinking at Willie’s. Fantastic wings and the best bartenders in town. I love that bar.
So the game kicked off and the Tigers got out to a comfortable 17-0 lead in the 4th quarter. At that point, the celebration was on. I was minutes away from booking my plane ticket to Atlanta for the SEC Championship Game in December. Next thing I know, the game is tied and we’re headed to overtime. After two OT periods, our kicker missed a field goal to send it into a third overtime. I want to say I couldn’t believe it, but if you’re at all familiar with Missouri’s athletic history, you know why I can’t.
The all-too-familiar feeling of being disappointed by my school set in. So, I did what any rational, disappointed sports fan would do. I lined up three shots of Fireball on the bar and took them all down. They say not to use alcohol as a coping mechanism, but I didn’t see any better options at the moment.
My drunken autopilot had set in at that point. Somehow, I ended up back at my old fraternity house. A house that I had not lived in for nearly half a decade. You can’t teach instincts like that. Fortunately, I did know somebody there, the younger brother of my best friend from college. Soon, word spread throughout the house that the guy who wrote for the internet was drinking upstairs. College kids love G-list internet celebrities, I guess.
I remember taking command of the iPod in the room and playing a round of pass the bottle with Crystal Palace vodka. Whatever the hell that is.
Just look how excited I am to be there. I look like Jason Dufner. Just searching for answers. Am I talking to someone? I think I was talking to myself. The lights are on, but no one is home.
I woke up the next morning with a hangover that would have killed a lesser man. Like any hungover morning I had experienced before, I took immediate inventory of my situation. Phone was gone. I was missing one shoe. My Costa sunglasses were missing. (Congrats to the guy who found them. Enjoy.) Thankfully, I had my wallet and quickly located my phone, which was still plugged into the speakers playing “Forever In Blue Jeans” by Neil Diamond. I also located my other shoe. Great success.
I walked across campus to meet up with my friends and get the hell out of Dodge, much to the delight of the families and passersby.
These people are acting like they’ve never seen a hungover person before.
— Brian PGP (@BrianPGP) October 27, 2013
An adult, by conventional means, doing the walk of shame after passing out in my old frat house. What had I become? There’s a demon inside me that is awoken every time I go back to that damn town.
As I sat on the front porch of my buddy’s house and waited to hit the road back to my hometown, I sat in reflection. Rookie mistake after rookie mistake had been made. The drive back home could not have gone by slower.
The popular saying goes, “If you’re gonna hoot with the owls, you gotta soar with the eagles.” Those people know what they were saying.