Penn State Steps Up to the Plate at Relay for Life
New venue, better weather. Relay for Life of Penn State underwent some drastic improvements this year while raising $69,620 for the American Cancer Society.
Saturday night’s misty rain may have dampened Medlar Field at Lubrano Park, but Relayers’ tents remained nice and dry under the overhang of the concourse in the stadium. Take that, weather. Still, the light rain and icy chill that interrupted our early spring to once again test Relayers’ spirits was nothing compared to the awful conditions last year.
The new venue offered more benefits than just precipitation protection — the red dirt warning track around the edge of the field proved much easier to walk on than the uneven stone path of the old location, which had become a mucky mess last year. The stadium also provided more parking and a shorter walk to the bus stop for the quick excursion for supplies.
It wasn’t without problems, though. Organizers had some mild troubles acclamating to the new sound and video systems and plenty of blankets, pads or air mattresses were needed to accomodate comfortable sleep on the otherwise cold and hard concrete underneath. And hearing “The Sandlot” blasted over the loudspeakers at 4 a.m. made it difficult to get a decent night’s sleep. But overall, the baseball stadium was a nice improvement.
Even though the total didn’t quite reach last year’s impressive amount, the weekend was a time for bonding, and most especially for remembering Joe Paterno, who lost his battle with lung cancer earlier this year. Jay delivered a powerful speech at the start of the weekend, reminding everyone to look around at the amazing support system around them and to look to those who fight cancer every day as inspiration, a light in the darkness.
That theme remained through the weekend, Relayers engaging in all kinds of antics to occupy themselves, from the infamous purple toilet that teams could pay to set by other tents, to the Mr. Relay contest featuring crossdressing guys begging participants for donations to raise the most and earn the title they were competing for. Once again, Relay for Life showed that crappy weather couldn’t bring participants’ spirits down.