There’s something I need to get off my chest. I left 10 minutes before the end of what would go on to become the greatest Penn State game of the my college career. And yep, I feel like an asshole.
There’s nothing like walking into a packed stadium or getting chills while singing the alma mater. Mentally and emotionally, there’s no place I’d rather be in State College on a Saturday than Beaver Stadium. Physically, well, that’s another story. By the third quarter of most games, I start to get an ache in my legs, a dull pain in my head, and a fire in my throat. Call me what you want, but I cannot make it through the entire game. (Side note: Tailgating might have something to do with this.)
This past weekend, I made it to the fourth quarter – five minutes into the fourth quarter, to be exact — before I couldn’t take the pain anymore. Penn State was down by a touchdown, and I honestly didn’t think anything more would happen. I was satisfied with an eventful Homecoming week, a fun day of tailgating, and an awesome game. I didn’t think cutting out a little early would mean anything. My god, was I wrong.
I felt a slight pang of guilt and brewing regret as my three friends and I climbed down the bleachers, but it was nowhere near the remorse I would feel 30 minutes later as countless family members and non-Penn State friends bombarded me with texts asking if I saw the game live.
Well, I did see most of it live…but not the action-packed, quadruple-overtime, proudest-time-to-be-a-Penn-Stater-ever ending of the game. No, I had to answer a seemingly infinite number of people, I was NOT there in person to see Allen Robinson make a catch that would challenge the laws of physics. No, I didn’t squish together and chant in the student section as Penn State made Michigan their bitch again. And NO, I didn’t sing the alma mater at the end with tears of pride gushing down my cheeks. NO, OKAY! I MISSED ALL OF IT!
Instead, I stood in line at Yogurt Express waiting for a very average-tasting smoothie.
In my defense, watching the rest of the game in that little shop was actually really cool. A small group had gathered inside to huddle around the TV, and people from the other local shops kept popping their heads in to see the final moments. It was heartwarming to see that everyone, whether they were at the game or not, was in the Penn State spirit. Even Michigan fans (who dared not come inside) watched the end of the game from outside the window. It was nothing compared to the electric shock of pride and awe I imagine was felt in the stands, but it really exemplified the close-knit downtown community that is Penn State.
I guess with this confessional I’m trying to make two points. First and foremost, I’m an idiot and will probably always regret leaving this game early, but secondly, the Penn State spirit was (and is) palpable across campus, and probably across the country, regardless of whether you’re screaming in the stands or at your TV.
I hope some of you can empathize with me — I’m sure I can’t be the only unlucky fan who left the game early — and I hope the rest of my friends won’t continue trying to make me feel even worse than I already do.
Yeah, I suck. But it’s three days later and Michigan still sucks more.