USD’s homecoming celebration, Dakota Days, usually starts with royalty finalists being announced and wraps up with the D-Days football game on Saturday.
With no football game, what is homecoming all about?
Homecoming is not dependent on the football game being played, however it is a large part of the celebration. The game, parade, street dance and other events have been canceled or changed to try and prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Dakota Days is more than a football game, it brings the USD community of students, faculty and alumni together, but the culmination of excitement and celebration for the week is brought to the parade and football game that take place Saturday. All the build up, is to win the D-Days game and celebrate another great year of USD.
This year not having the game means the Dakota Days Committee had to find a new way to keep the celebration alive without the typical celebrations. The committee gave students new ways to celebrate with things like Yote Olympics, but kept old traditions like homecoming royalty and the talent show.
While the committee did everything they could to keep the spirit of D-Days alive, how many students actually know that D-Days is happening this week? How many students are still celebrating despite having no game on Saturday? How many alumni are still making trips to Vermillion this week to celebrate D-Days?
There are a lot of reasons to still celebrate D-Days. Professors and students are rejoicing for having made it this far without having to move everything online for the rest of the semester. The number of cases on campus has stayed between 20 and 30 for the last two weeks and the number of students in isolation continues to drop. However, there are still cases around Vermillion and South Dakota continues to see a climb in cases.
While we all could use an opportunity to celebrate, now is still not the time. There are going to be house parties, people crowding the bars and no respect to social distancing and mask wearing requirements this week.
With all that has gone on over the last six months, we all need a reason to celebrate. D-Days is that opportunity, but is now really the time?
Late last week the athletic department announced the schedule for spring football, with eight conference games — four home and four road games —being played starting in February. If it is safe to play football come spring, then why not wait for then to have Dakota Days. Yes, that feels weird, but what about the year 2020 doesn’t?
Older alumni and fans of USD may not feels safe to travel to Vermillion for the celebrations this week, but still may feel pressured to because it is D-Days. The celebration of D-Days should be enjoyed by everyone, and the easiest way to do that is to wait until football season this spring.