Homecoming is upon us, and coogs do not take this time of year lightly. Sure, we all remember homecoming as high school teens: 80s day, bring ‘anything but a backpack’ day, yada yada yada. Well OUR homecoming week is that but on steroids.
Leading up to the big kickoff game, UH held many activities to hype up the event, including but not limited to a pep rally, a talent show, and tie-dying. On Thursday, I got to attend the great inflatable race on the Student Center North Lawn. It was a battlefield, it frightened me, but no cowards entered Valhalla.
The great inflatable race is sponsored by the Homecoming Board and the Center for Student Involvement. It consists of an obstacle course made up of a series of smaller inflatable obstacle courses, all lined up one after the other. On the side, there are some other activities for the faint of heart.
Things are no longer like the olden days, where you could show up to an event, swipe your cougar card, and get into an event. Now you have to go in through Get Involved via AccessUH, select the event you want to attend, enter your fancy new [email protected] info, and download a QR ticket to present at said event. And, if your microsoft account has decided to deny your existence (not that that happened to me or anything), you’re straight out of luck.
But never fear, the Homecoming Board will show you mercy if your electronic issues are sincere.
Upon entering, my wrist was wrapped in a wristband, and I was given a free water bottle. It was a little bent in places, but I resolved to fix it later. In the meantime, it was time to get down to business. I took my shoes off and threw my backpack in a pile with everyone else’s, then began making small talk with the people waiting in line. I wasn’t looking for friends, though; I was looking for competition. Finally I found a nice young man named Rahil who looked to be in my weight class and asked him for a race.
Rahil and I lined up, and the people behind us provided a countdown. And with that, we were off. I will admit the course was harder than I thought. It’s not even that I’m unfit (which I am). It was the heat. It was barely 11:30 am, and the plastic canvas was hot to the touch. Every slap of moving obstacles made a sizzling sound against my skin. The slides were super fun, however, blessing me with a view of my lovely campus and a strong breeze on the downward. I was ahead of Rahil, I liked the slide, I got cocky.
On the final slide, I pushed off a little too confidently, and I lost my balance. Instead of a dignified slide, I tipped sideways and slid on my poor arm. My lily-white skin burned against the hot canvas, causing me to thrash around in an attempt to save myself. But it was for naught. I sat at the bottom, clutching my burned elbow as Rahil hopped over me and past the finish line. God had forsaken me.
The inflatable hamster balls were a lot more fun. I ran around pretending I was in the Flaming Lips for a bit until I ran out of oxygen. It was getting hotter, and I rushed through the final ( and easiest) obstacle.
Then, the prize; there was a FOOD table! For FREE! Much to my delight, they were serving my favorite food, macaroni and cheese. I gratefully accepted a carton of mac topped with chicken tenders. I fished a soda out of a cooler, thanked the staff, and was on my merry way.
As an obsessive mac ‘n cheese conasuir, I’m rating it a tasty six. This is not a harsh rating, as the 10’s on my list belong to the Stanley Hotel (CO), the Pane & Vino (FL), Hell’s Kitchen (NV), and select other luxury establishments. The bar is high. But the chicken strips certainly elevated the dish.
Overall, the great inflatable race was an excellent pre-game event I hope becomes a tradition. I had a blast, although my ego was knocked down a peg. On the bright side, my elbow has scabbed over nicely, and I’m well on my way to recovery (don’t worry, I won’t post pictures).