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'Tis the Season

Posted: September 23, 2013

Frank reflects on football season and the connections he's developed at Penn State.
The Blue Band performs during this year's first home game against Eastern Michigan.

The Blue Band performs during this year's first home game against Eastern Michigan.

Week 1: My roommates and I wake up out of our own desire, at 8 a.m. on Saturday.

Week 2: I skip my usual weekly dinner out, and dinner in general, to go to it.

Week 3: It’s pouring rain, and my friends and I are getting soaked because we don’t have raincoats that are blue or white.

Did you figure it out? It’s not just football season, it’s the Penn State Football Season. My classmates and I have no trouble making sacrifices in sleep, food, or comfort to attend the home games, and that says something. And it’s not (just) that we’re crazy.

When I arrived at Penn State my freshman year, while I enjoyed the football games, I couldn’t understand why it was such a huge deal. All the people tailgating the entire day just for just one event, and students lining up several hours early just to get a good seat, not to mention just how many people were there for each game—I didn’t get it! Ever seen, and heard, over 100,000 people at one time, all wearing the same two colors? Makes you feel a little bad for the visiting team. I asked myself, why do so many people care so much about a game?!

After three years of experiencing not only Penn State football, but Penn State itself, I realized my question wasn’t quite right, because the game, I found, was only a small part of it. With each day of college, I’ve learned more, in and out of class. I’ve met new people, and developed my relationships with the ones I already knew. Over my time here, my classes began connecting with each other, my classmates began connecting with my friends, and my studies began connecting with my personal interests. The lines dividing my memories of work and fun, good times and tough times, faded with the passing time. As varied as my relationships and memories have been, I started to appreciate that they all have been a part of Penn State. And everyone who’s here or been here experiences the same thing, in that person’s unique way. Nowadays, when I go to games, I understand that I share a connection with

every

single

person

in that stadium, and they understand it too, and that’s what really makes the games so exciting. There are so many and there is so much behind it all.

After our first home game this year (which we won, I’ll mention) I went back to my aunt and uncle’s tailgate, which they have for almost every game every season. My parents and sisters were there, as were my other aunts and uncles, my cousins who graduated before me and the ones who are following me, and our friends. The others who help host it had their families and friends present too. We all enjoyed great food and drinks, celebrated, intermingled, and had a blast.

At that gathering, during my last season as a student, it all finally became clear. I think, in the end, we’re cheering for each other.

—Frank