Baylor Homecoming has been in my life since I can remember. Having alumni parents, I have been raised to bleed green and gold, which entails going back to campus in October for homecoming festivities.
Now, as a student, I realize the hype and get to experience the weeklong celebration in such a different way. I am no longer the eight-year-old staring at the funny college kids dressed in Pigskin costumes. I AM that college kid.
My parents, John Cox (’93) and Larissa Cox (’93), taught me and my older siblings from a very young age where our loyalties lie. Just in case we didn’t know, my parents took us all back to Waco whenever they had the chance. I remember my first homecoming around eight-years-old. We went to the bonfire, parade the next morning and of course, rounded out the weekend with a Baylor football game. We took a few years off from homecoming after that due to weekend sports’ games and dance competitions but returned after McLane Stadium was built in 2014. As a preteen, the homecoming festivities seemed even grander, if possible. I looked at the students with admiration and could not wait to one day be in their position.
My parents made it clear that we could go anywhere we wanted and were able to go for college…except TCU of course. When it came time for my older brother to choose a college, he knew he wanted to go far. He ended up attending undergrad at the other BU—Boston University. Two years later, my sister chose to follow our parents and go to Baylor. I attended every Baylor football home game and both homecoming celebrations of my sister’s first two years there. Another two years pass and I chose Baylor as my college home, following the family tradition of going to some BU school.
As a freshman, I did not have a normal homecoming. With COVID, the freshman experience was very different. We did not have Mass Meeting or the parade. Pigskin was virtual, where we gathered at McLane to watch videos of the Sing acts from the Spring. I did not run the line at the Homecoming game or at any other game that season. It was beyond disappointing to not be able to take part in the very traditions I had admired so much growing up, but the world moves on, and I knew eventually I would get to experience each and every part.
Now, as a junior, I have been able to experience two full Baylor homecoming weekends as a student. I have performed in Pigskin, attended the bonfire, sang that Good Old Baylor Line, watched the float that I worked on for weeks with my sorority pass by in the parade, and attended the game with both my college friends and my family. It gets more and more special every year and is truly one of my favorite times to be a Baylor Bear.
This year specifically, at the bonfire, as I stood listening to President Linda Livingstone speak to the crowd, I felt the connection between my family. Thirty years ago, my parents stood exactly where I was standing and celebrated with their college friends. My sister, who graduated in May 2022 from nursing school, walked the Waco Hall stage to perform in Pigskin. Hopefully one day, if all goes according to plan, my kids will stand where I joined my fellow Bears and they will feel the connection that I felt. I am reminded each Homecoming weekend how lucky I am to attend Baylor and share this experience with my family.
Baylor Homecoming is the busiest, craziest time to be a college student, yet also the most special.