By: Drew Huddleston
In the past, fall Friday nights at QVHS were an event. The school population would gather, standing on the bleachers, cheering through the thick and thin of the game. Over the season, the games would culminate in the homecoming game, where the king and queen would be crowned in front of the entire school, with students crowded together, shoulder to shoulder, chanting in unison. Yet, in light of the global pandemic, QV’s time-honored tradition was forced to transform.
Entering the stadium, a mask covering half of my face, I looked up at the bleachers. The once vibrant stands were near vacant, with any attendants spaced six feet apart from one another. The experience was surreal, almost like walking through the ruins of a vibrant city. I took my seat in the student section, a handful of my classmates sitting socially distanced from one another. As the game began, the once-bustling student section sat aimlessly, converting with one another through masks. While Central Valley’s score grew larger and larger, the unnatural silence of the stands began to weigh on me. I wasn’t the only one who felt this way. Homecoming King and marching band member Evan Monski said about the changes, “We’re trying our best to keep this like a normal season.”
Proving his point, on the opposite en
d of the bleachers, the marching band and cheerleaders went right along as if nothing had changed. The first half ended with Quakers down 50-0. The announcer then welcomed the homecoming King and Queen, who had been revealed the previous night at the varsity soccer game. Rather than standing in front of the school alongside their nominees, Evan Monski and Lily Johns waved to the
few parents and students in attendance. Even despite the event’s lack of pomp and circumstance, Monski still couldn’t help but feel as though the night was special. “I don’t need to be in front of a big crowd to feel loved,” Evan said about the unusual approach to the event. As Lily and Evan left the field, beads of rain began dripping from the sky. As they grew heavier and faster, the small student section dwindled until it was completely vacant.
As the rain died down, my friend found it pointless to watch the rest of the game without a crowd and elected to toss a frisbee around on the side of the hill. It was on that hill, that I came to a realization. To me, homecoming was never about the game. It was about the spirit, comradery, and friendship. Standing on the hill with my friend, the tweeting whistles of the referees screeching in the background, I felt all of those things. While it lacked the excitement and scale of previous years, Quaker Valley’s 2020 homecoming will become one for the history books.