IF THE HAT FITS: Time for the Buffaloes to roam back home

·3 min read

Oct. 16—It's time to put on your best black and gold.

We are now embarking on a journey for a fun week filled with a parade, reuniting with old friends, and a little Buffalo football too.

That's right, it's homecoming week.

Homecoming is always a special time for every school, with pep rallies, week-long events, dress up days, and the return of those who themselves once walked the halls current students now occupy. It's a week to tell those old war stories from historic games, and to create new legends in real time.

And here in McAlester, where fans consistently lend vehement support for their school, homecoming is the chance to paint the town in school colors and show the Buffs and Lady Buffs just how much they mean to this community.

Because whether you're in football, band, cheer, pom, drama, or one of the many other clubs and associations, you're carrying on a legacy of those that have come before you, and setting an example for those that will follow in your footsteps.

I love this week for many reasons, but I think my favorite is just seeing how the town comes together. People uniting with the goal of lending support to a school, town, and community that has in turn supported them, and having a good time while doing it.

There are a lot of laughs, hugs, and even a few tears that will be shared this week. There'll be reunions of old classmates talking about the good old days, and there'll be some solemn silence as beverages are raised in honor of an old friend who has passed on.

Families might break out some old pictures and start comparing today's McAlester with the version they grew up in, or you might learn the reasons why the athletes in your family have always chosen the same number.

We'll get to have a parade, with fans and alums of all ages lining the streets to cheer on the black and gold. And we'll recognize the 2021 homecoming court as new royalty is crowned. Oh, and there will be football.

Homecoming is like THE fall event. The temperature is getting cooler, but hearts get warmer as we celebrate together as one community.

I myself am not a McAlester grad. I owe that honor to another black and gold school just south of here. But I've grown up around this town and community, and have had many friends and family members walk the halls of McAlester High School — so this place holds a special piece of my heart.

And now, I am a town citizen working for the local newspaper and getting to immerse myself in it all once again. I'm excited for this week, and I'm already planning a wardrobe that will feature either school colors or a buffalo every day leading up to the game.

All of that to say this: enjoy yourself, McAlester. Allow a little uninhibited pride in your city and school to take over. Tell those old stories; reconnect with classmates — heck, break out your old letter jacket and wear it to the game.

And just remember, "Once a Buffalo, Always a Buffalo." Happy Homecoming, everyone!

Contact Derek Hatridge at dhatridge@mcalesternews.com.

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