What Happens When You Turn 21 During THON?

Twenty-first birthdays are a rite of passage, and in State College, that includes a pregame with all your friends, a trip to the Phyrst, and eventually, a trip back home after you get kicked out.

Sometimes you end up on an unlucky night — maybe a random Monday when you have a test the next day or over summer when all you really want to do is be back in Happy Valley.

Then there’s an entirely different situation: having your birthday over THON, possibly the one weekend every year when most Penn Staters stay sober.

That’s the case for one student this weekend. He hadn’t been to THON in his three years at Penn State but has a good deal of friends that will be in it for the long haul at the Bryce Jordan Center this weekend.

A handful of folks showed up to his pregame around 10:30 p.m. Two came straight from THON, while others were waiting until the next day to go, and the others had no intention of bringing their hangovers to the BJC for the remainder of the weekend. It was a type of low-key gathering that you’d expect during the middle of the week, not necessarily a Friday night — just dedicated friends showing up your long-sought moment of being able to legally drink for the first time.

“I mean, it might be THON, but your friend’s 21st isn’t really something you can miss,” a friend said as he awaited the next two days, most of which would be spent in the BJC.

Everyone expected that to continue to the Phyrst — just a gathering of those in Phyrst birthday hats and their friends. But hey, not everyone at Penn State does THON, right?

“Look, there’s a line,” the birthday boy said as we made the trek down Beaver Avenue.

There’s no way in hell that there’s a line during THON. That’s what they all thought, but low and behold, it stretch decently down the street.

The bouncer wasn’t expecting this kind of craze either, hoping to be downstairs himself for most of the night. But instead, the bar was at capacity since 10 p.m.

One of the bartenders said it was as crazy of a night as she’s seen. Guess you could call it an “alternative THON.”

It turned into your usual 21st birthday, with the exception that some of the group had their next THON shifts starting tomorrow morning — including a shift starting at 7 a.m.

“If there’s one thing I can say about this,” the birthday boy muttered somewhat incoherently after finishing up his night at the Phyrst. “I’m honored to share my birthday with THON.”

That was the last we saw of him for the night — officially KO’d in his bed still with his Phyrst hat on.

About the Author

Steve Connelly

Steve Connelly is a junior majoring in PR and an editor for Onward State. He is a proud native of the state of New Jersey, and yes, he is literal trash. He is a soccer fan, nap enthusiast, and chicken tender connoisseur. He tried to be a photographer once, but the only good thing that came out of it is a name for his future sports bar, The Blurry Zamboni. You can follow him on Twitter @slc2o (feel free to slide) and email him at [email protected]


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