Jon K. Rust

Jon K. Rust is publisher of the Southeast Missourian and co-president of Rust Communications.

Rain stops parade; but cheerleaders, band and sports teams undaunted

The Homecoming crowd turned out in ponchos and under big umbrellas to root on the Redhawks Oct. 26, 2019.
Jelani Days / Southeast Arrow

The headline in the Southeast Missourian over the weekend summarized it perfectly: "Rain, rain, go away: SE Homecoming parade canceled, first time since '73." Overall, the rain gauge at the Cape Girardeau airport indicated nearly 4 inches fell between midnight and 1 p.m. on Saturday (with a light drizzle continuing for hours later). Several university officials, including alumni director George Gasser, asked if they made the right decision in canceling the parade. My answer: "Absolutely. 100%." My daughters and I went for a walk in the rain that morning on Broadway, and it would have been miserable for everyone if the parade had happened.

And it wasn't just the rain. The wind blustered. And the floats, made largely of paper, would have disintegrated in the endless downpour. An unhealthy mess was averted.

Even my girls, who love parade candy, wondered if anyone would have stayed long. Their feet were quickly soaked, even in boots and beneath umbrellas.

Huge planning goes into Homecoming -- and thousands descend on Cape, injecting countless dollars into the economy. So it was a blow not to have a pleasant day, but such things happen. Here, though, are some of my highlights from the weekend.

The band

I'll get around to the football team's victory, but sitting in the stands as the rain poured down, it was fun watching the band on the students' side. They danced, they wiggled, they sang, they played. Nothing appeared to dampen their spirits, and the sound of their music was impressive (as always). Great job, Redhawks Marching Band!

The die-hard fans

More than 2,000 showed up to cheer on the Redhawks. With first-place in view for Southeast, it wasn't a particularly loud crowd. But they were there, wrapped in ponchos or hiding beneath huge umbrellas, showing their support.

The cheerleaders and Sundancers

Just like with the band, the cheer and dance squads were in full spirit. Given that some of the dance choreography included lying down on the wet grass in midriff-bare outfits, their gusto was more than admirable.

Jon K. Rust

The football team

I'll let the sports department do the analysis, but kudos to Coach Matukewicz and the Redhawks. With the 17-10 victory, Southeast is in a tie for first place in the OVC and rose in the national rankings to No. 18. It was a slog. The defense bent but did not break in stopping the Skyhawks -- who previously averaged more than 40 points a game in conference play -- and it was opportunistic in stealing the win with an interception for a touchdown. Southeast's home winning streak: now at 11.

First in more than football

The weekend was good for two other SEMO sports. With victories on Friday night and Sunday, the women's soccer team won the OVC regular season championship. And the volleyball squad held onto its first-place position with wins in Nashville against Tennessee State on Friday and Belmont on Saturday.

Yes, a lot of rain came down in Cape Girardeau on Saturday. And the parade was canceled for the first time in 46 years. But there was much to celebrate -- with hints of more to come. Go Redhawks!

Jon K. Rust is publisher of the Southeast Missourian.