A Slice Of Bacon: The good, bad and ugly of Family Weekend

By Shane Bacon
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Friday, October 14, 2005

I am a blessed son. I've been a student at the UA for four solid years, and my parents love me enough to visit Tucson for every Family Weekend.

Every year around this time, I make that drive down Kino Parkway to the beautiful landing strip that is Tucson International Airport to pick up Eliza and Monte, my loving mother and father.

I think four years makes you a Family Weekend expert, one that can tell you exactly what to do with your parental figures.

You have to take them to the football game on Saturday. A nice dinner at Sullivan's or North is a plus, but saving a few bucks at mom-and-pop eateries like Jerry Bob's or Bobo's isn't a bad choice either.

Walk the parents down the UA Mall, and give them a tour of our Student Union Memorial Center, the biggest in the nation without a hotel attached to it.

With all the tips I can give you, here are, for the first time, things not to do during Family Weekend 2005:

  • You know that Everclear bottle you have signed by your big bro? The one with a picture attached of you lying half-dead next to a chick you wouldn't let your friend touch? Don't leave that laying around. In fact, just throw that picture away.

  • Los Betos can never be an acceptable substitute for a nice meal. This is not the weekend to be lazy. Even if you have never heard of a place outside the realm of University Boulevard, get in a taxi, have the driver drop you off at Magpie's or Bisonwitches and act like you wrote the menu.

  • Speaking of dinner, don't bog your parents down with 15 of your "best friends" just because they are East Coast buddies who have nobody coming out to see them this weekend. You shouldn't set your parents back an electric bill just because your friends are moochers.

  • Don't offer to challenge your dad and your buddy's dad in beer pong if they haven't actually played before. Trust me, seeing a 50-year-old man gagging on hot Keystone isn't fun for anyone involved.

  • Don't forget to walk them through the tailgate area if they haven't seen it before, even if none of your friends have spots. With the weather like it is, the parents can see Wildcat pride exemplified by kids acting crazier than you are, and they might reminisce about their own college days.

  • Don't let your parents believe for one second that the campus actually looks like this all the time. I'm sorry, but walking through campus the week before school starts makes me realize what a membership at Augusta National must feel like. Sprinklers on that I didn't even know existed. All the grass edged to perfection. Colorful flower arrangements filling planters that usually house old beer cans and cigarette butts. But at least our tuition money is going to something productive, eh?

  • Don't abandon your parents to sit by themselves at the football game, even if you already are a Zona Zoo member. Sitting in the west side of Arizona Stadium with your family gives you a chance to explain how explosive freshman receiver Mike Thomas is or how sophomore Antoine Cason is one of the best cornerbacks in the Pacific 10 Conference. Reciting knowledge like this might actually skew them into thinking you've learned more this semester than the local Papa John's number.

  • During kickoff, don't let your own keys leave your pocket. Instead, get your mom's keys out and let her shake them. Parents love being involved, and this is a great way to get them into the game before the action really begins.

  • If your parents don't drink, don't drink. If your parents drink, show them something new you learned. "Hey, Dad, you know if you take a Sambuca shot, swish it around your mouth and then light it on fire, it tastes just like licorice?"

    All this knowledge is just a starting step in dealing with the first wake-up call of the year. Parents visit and they might comment on your ugly hair or that tattoo you got on your ankle that looks a little like a kappa, but they will still send money and continue to support you on your journey through Tucson.

    Like Dirtbag's always says, "It's just a part of growing up."

    Shane Bacon is a journalism senior. He can be reached at sports@wildcat.arizona.edu.