Two Years Later: What The White Out Means To Me

As the White Out weekend came to a close, I found myself reminiscing on what this particular game meant to me as a student. 

In 2017, I went to my first college football game as a high school senior. My step-dad surprised my mom and me with tickets to the White Out against Michigan, and I was excited, to say the least.

I liked football, but the only big football game I had gone to at that point was a Steelers game at a half-empty Heinz Field (to the surprise of absolutely no one), which I left at halftime because of rain. I had no idea that Beaver Stadium would be so different. 

We left early in the morning from Pittsburgh to make the drive to State College and once we arrived, we headed straight for ESPN’s College GameDay production on the Lawn of Old Main. We got there just as Lee Corso crowd-surfed through the sea of fans. I even got to make a sign at the Pizza Hut stand.

Looking around, I saw a lot of signs attacking someone named Harbaugh, so in true Penn State fashion, I followed suit. Barely knowing who he was at the time, I was surrounded by thousands of signs from fans about how Michigan sucks, how Harbaugh’s khakis are tacky, or about how a lion could fight a wolverine. I wrote on a sign that “Harbaugh hates puppies.”  

After watching the crowd go wild when Lee Corso put the Nittany Lion head-on, we moved to the tailgate lots after that, where I sat in an RV city surrounded by people I went to high school with, eating homemade sandwiches, and mac and cheese. A friend came wearing an apron that read “Cookin’ Meat,” with the Michigan “M” on it. 

That day, I tweeted “Never ever ever want to leave Penn State tailgate.” I still don’t. Being surrounded by all that energy, I thought “I love how excited everyone is. This is so much fun.” But that wasn’t even half of it. I hadn’t experienced a fifth of the energy of the day yet.

We entered the stadium and found our seats in the third-highest row of section NGU, above the north endzone. I could see the student section and that gorgeous S-Zone from where I was sitting. What I now know and love as the Blue Band’s pregame routine started, and I tried so desperately to keep up with the chants that I can now recite in my sleep. 

The fireworks came, and the team ran out of the tunnel. The crowd went nuts to the tune of “Zombie Nation.” I had instant chills. 

Saquon Barkley took the ball for a ~nice~ 69-yard touchdown for the first play of the game, and the crowd went nuts again. The second Nittany Lion possession came, and Barkley put another six points on the board. 

My official White Out shirt described the spectacle as an “Avalanche of Sound,” and boy was it right. 

At that point, I knew how the rest of the night would go. The Nittany Lions won 42-13 over Michigan. After attempting to sing the correct words to the Alma Mater, I left with a sense of pride and belonging that I’ve never felt before. 

I walked onto campus expecting a nice football game in October. I left with a full heart and an easy decision of where I wanted to be for the next four years of my life. 

Two years and two season ticket purchases later, I’ve fallen in love with the Beaver Stadium atmosphere even more. I know now to yell “left!” before the Alma Mater, how to secure seats in the S-Zone, and get tossed after a touchdown.

The White Out is still unlike anything I’ve ever been a part of, and I wholeheartedly agree with Kirk Herbstreit’s statement that the Penn State White Out is “the best atmosphere in college football.”

I’d like to thank Penn State for being the best college in the country, and my step-dad for introducing me to the Penn State Kool-Aid.

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About the Author

Mira DiBattiste

Mira is a senior studying industrial engineering from Pittsburgh, PA, making her a lifelong Penguins fan. You can probably find her in the HUB with an iced coffee, or in the best student section in all of college football. If you need a picture of your dog, want to discuss why Sheetz is better than Wawa, or why Canon is far superior to Nikon, send a DM to @miraniicole on twitter.

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