King’s Court

Sometimes you really have to wonder what’s going on around here.

This weekend St. John’s will host its 2007 Homecoming and Family Weekend, featuring events suitable for families and students alike.

Certainly some conflicts cannot be avoided. For example, Friday will feature a women’s soccer game vs. UConn and a volleyball game against DePaul, both of which begin at 7 p.m. and were scheduled by the NCAA – not St. John’s fault.

However, Saturday will feature two events that both seem suitable to be labeled as headliners: a pivotal men’s soccer game against DePaul at 7:30 p.m., and a Common and Ben Jelen concert at 8 p.m. Both seem to be advertised as the grand finale of Homecoming weekend, but won’t these two major events conflict with one another?

Men’s soccer will need all the support it can get as it takes on DePaul in its last regular season home game, a contest that could have significant implications on the team’s post-season play.

Only a half hour after the game is set to begin, a concert featuring popular rapper Common will start. After all of the controversy surrounding the possibility of Ludacris performing at St. John’s last year, it’s good to see the University bring a motivating and equally popular rapper to perform for the student body.

But one problem remains: how are people expected to be in two places at once to fully enjoy all that the weekend has to offer, and which event is really the headliner for Homecoming?

On the one hand, the soccer game is being labeled as the “Homecoming Game.” In fact, as Director of Campus Activities Damien Duchamp noted, “We built homecoming around soccer.”

But on the other hand, flyers depicting Common and Ben Jelen are being distributed around campus encouraging students to buy tickets.

According to Duchamp, Common is not going to start his set until approximately 10 p.m., presumably giving soccer fans enough time to make it to Carnesecca Arena before the artist begins.

But what about fans of Ben Jelen, who is kicking off the concert at 8 p.m.? And, as anyone who has ever been outside of Carnesecca Arena during a performance knows, the line outside the building forms well before the show starts.

If Homecoming was built around men’s soccer, as Campus Activities claims it was, there is no reason an event of equal significance should be happening at the same time. The NCAA scheduled the soccer game months ago. As such, measures should have been taken to ensure that there would be no conflicting events with it.

Friday night features the play Bat Boy as the main nighttime event. However, that musical is also performing two times on Saturday, so placing the Common concert as Friday’s main event would have made more sense and not taken away potential soccer fans from the DePaul game.

Last year’s Homecoming was the first major one the University had since the football program folded in 2002. While the concept of bringing a sense of tradition to St. John’s was a nice idea in theory, the execution by the University was lacking. A full week’s worth of events led to various conflicts, and many students found themselves bombarded by too many festivities.

“There are a few things that we knew needed to be done during homecoming, like a major concert,” Duchamp told The Torch last year.
Campus Activities is giving a good effort, but things need to be straightened out before a true sense of tradition can be established. After all, homecoming, traditionally, is meant to welcome home a school’s sports team, and men’s soccer deserves the biggest crowd it can get.