It would be very easy to ignore the next two weeks of Penn State football as a student.
Thanksgiving break provides the first opportunity for many of us to see our families in three months. For those over 21, it also provides the biggest drinking day of the year in major cities like New York and Philly.
Add to that a really annoying “campout” at Nittanyville due to the university’s weather policy, a noon kickoff this week, and a solid but unspectacular 7-3 Wisconsin team that will represent the Leaders Division in the Big Ten championship game regardless of next week’s result. Sure, that gives you plenty of reasons to go home after your last class and stay in the protective custody of your chocolate chip cookie baking, laundry doing, money giving mom until the following Sunday. Doing that is, however, a huge mistake.
1. They stayed — This team is truly an incredible group of young men. It has been said many times this season, and it is totally true. They were faced with the harshest sanctions the NCAA has ever handed down. The coach that recruited them was unceremoniously fired in the wake of the worst scandal ever to hit college athletics. They have been mocked, harassed, and had adults unfairly tell them that they are just as bad as the molester that they never met. And yet, they stayed. They have made a commitment to the school that they love. So should we.
2. An empty student section is, well, it’s embarrassing — Looking up from the sideline and seeing nothing beyond the first twenty rows will not help a team that is going into its last chance to make this season more successful than most people thought it could be back in August with an 8-4 final record. Plus, it certainly doesn’t look good on television.
3. The players go home a lot less than you do — They get Thanksgiving with their families, if they can make it there and back in time. That’s pretty much it. That weekend you went home because it was an away game? Yeah, they went to the away game.
4. Because we are One Team — You and I may not be putting on pads and running through the tunnel over the next week and a half, but we are all Penn State, and Penn State has shown more than anything else in the last year that we stay together in tough times. No exception here.
5. Because there is no better place to be on a fall Saturday than Beaver Stadium — And if you disagree then you probably are a terrible person, hate puppies, and do not have tickets anyway. Why are you even reading this?
Because you don’t want this dude mad at you…
If you need more reasons, here’s a great letter to students from the Nittany Lions Den published earlier this week.