Seniors Look Back On Four Years In Beaver Stadium’s Student Section
As Penn State wrapped up another undefeated season at home and bid farewell to its senior players last weekend, the game also marked the end for another group of seniors: the ones sitting in the south end zone.
They sang the Alma Mater arm-in-arm for one final time against Rutgers and celebrated one last win on Saturday. This year’s seniors are the last class that was around during the Nittany Lions’ breakout season and miraculous run to a Big Ten championship and Rose Bowl. As a result, they’ve had quite the four years — from watching Marcus Allen’s field goal attempt to cheering on Penn State to a No. 2 ranking in 2017 to feeling the pain of losing double-digit, fourth-quarter leads to Ohio State in back-to-back years.
After four years worth of memories, joy, and heartbreak, our senior staffers looked back on their time in the student section.
It’s a weird feeling knowing I’ll (likely) never enter Beaver Stadium as a student again. My love affair with Penn State began when I was a junior in high school. I’d come up and visit for a game or two, and my older cousin would always sneak me into the student section.
The only experiences I have in Beaver Stadium are in that student section, and it’s a bittersweet feeling knowing I’ll never enter it again. No matter what has happened throughout my time here, one thing’s been constant, and that’s Penn State football.
Whether it was tailgating with my friends, getting into the stadium as soon as the gates open, or swaying to my Alma Mater with a random person under my arm — I’ll never forget the feeling of security that the student section has given me. In the words of Fall Out Boy, “Thnks fr the Mmrs.”
It’s crazy to consider how quickly the last four seasons have flown by, given how much has happened in them — from my own growth as a person to changes within our local community to the ascent of the football program. It seems like just yesterday, I was venturing into Beaver Stadium as a total n00b to watch what seemed like it’d be a mediocre Penn State team. I couldn’t have picked a better season to get me hooked than that 2016 team, and I’ll forever be grateful for the endless memories and excitement from that magical run — starting with the Ohio State upset.
One thing I’ve made a point of doing at every game I’ve gone to is closing my eyes during at least one of the stadium-wide “We Are” cheers that the cheerleaders lead. When I do this, I don’t participate. I only listen. Hearing the echoes and feeling the vibrations is one of the coolest experiences, and I love making time to do it, fully appreciating what’s around me, not just what’s on the field.
I’ll miss the student section and the $35/game season tickets (even though they’re too dang high), but boy, am I looking forward to sitting down during the game next season.
My Beaver Stadium experience is definitely unique compared to the average Penn State student’s, but there’s zero chance I’d trade it for anything in the world. Instead of standing in the student section and being part of what’s been called college football’s greatest atmosphere, I’ve sat in the Beaver Stadium press box for the past two seasons. That, of course, made me an observer instead of a participant in Beaver Stadium’s notoriously raucous atmosphere, but simply watching 107,000 Penn Staters unite from a sort of outside perspective made me appreciate what makes the venue one of college football’s best.
You may not plan on walking into Beaver Stadium and being on the exact same page as thousands of people from different backgrounds and with varying beliefs, but it happens — all because of the 11 players at a time who don the black shoes and basic blues. The chills sent down my spine while the stadium’s old, rickety press box literally shook prior to the 2018 and 2019 White Outs are memories that’ll last a lifetime for me. That just doesn’t happen at other stadiums, and getting to be a witness — not a participant — gave me a newfound appreciation for why Penn State creates the greatest gameday atmosphere in the nation. There’s something special about being in the press box (and on the field for the last few minutes of each game) as a student, and I urge any future Penn Staters reading this to try and find some way to work at Beaver Stadium, whether it’s in the box or down on the field. Unless I can somehow finesse a job covering Penn State football full-time in the future, I’ll never regularly cover games in an atmosphere as profound and incredible as Beaver Stadium again in my lifetime.
I have come to terms with the end of my final football season as a student. I am sad that I will never again be a part of the best student section in the country, but now I can finally cross the bridge into being a washed-up alum apart of one the best fan bases in the country. Like the caterpillar emerges from its cocoon as a brilliant butterfly, we students move on to greater things, yet we will always let Penn State football dictate our emotions 12 Saturdays in the fall.
My last game as a student was the Indiana game this year. It was definitely a very bittersweet experience, and it made me reflect on my time as a student at this wonderful school, and on all the games I’d been to at Beaver Stadium in general. I’ll forever cherish the memories of popcorning drunk strangers, cheering myself hoarse, and singing the Alma Mater with my friends after every game whether Penn State won or lost. Standing up for hours on end and sometimes in bad weather was more than worth it, and I would definitely say that most of my fondest memories at Penn State were made at Beaver Stadium. I look forward to going to games as an alumnus, but I know it just won’t be the same.
Finally. Now I can watch the Premier League all morning and switch to La Liga in the afternoon without leaving the warmth of my room.
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About the Author
“We believe that laughter will help us all get through this current situation and help us make sense of it.”
Whether it was a high-flying dunk from Lamar Stevens, a deep touchdown from Sean Clifford to KJ Hamler, or an electric pin by Mark Hall, many student-athletes made their marks on Happy Valley over the last eight months.
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