Let Everyone, Including Us Bandwagoners, Enjoy Penn State Hoops’ Dream Season
Penn State men’s basketball reached No. 9 in the AP Poll this week — the first time it has cracked the top ten since the 1995-1996 season.
The Nittany Lions are on track for their first March Madness appearance since 2011. Their last before that was in 2001.
I’m a senior, so I was in middle school the last time Penn State basketball was in the tournament. I, like many others, was drawn to Penn State because of its proud heritage as a football school. I was only reminded that basketball existed in Happy Valley when Pat Chambers came out at Be A Part From The Start, the quintessential freshman welcome week pep rally, to enlist us in the #climb.
At the time, I have to admit I was not climbing. I bought season tickets my freshman year, watched the team lose to Albany, gave up on the basketball school pipe dream, and attended maybe three more games that season. Many others, like me, probably also lost all hope for Penn State basketball at some point along the way — if they ever even had any to begin with.
With a top-ten ranking late in February, I’ve noticed more than a few Penn State basketball lifers throwing around accusatory terms such as “bandwagoner,” “fair-weather fan,” and “they’re only cheering for the cheap beer at Champs.”
That might, in essence, be true, but it takes away from the support we want to give to the team.
If you have been a lifelong Penn State basketball fan, congratulations. Those were some tough years, and it’s commendable that you’ve endured the climb to enjoy its current peak — not to imply that it can’t or won’t get any better than this. This Penn State team is fantastic, and it definitely has the chance to keep climbing through March.
However, no one cares that you were a fan before this iteration of good Penn State basketball. It doesn’t make you more of a Penn State fan than any of the new faces in the Bryce Jordan Center’s student section.
We all love this basketball school. We are all climbing now.
Let us have our fun. Every Penn State student, alumnus, and fan has the right to enjoy this climb to new heights without hearing weird brags about how long you’ve been following Penn State hoops — or annoying comments about the nature of our basketball fandom, for that matter.
Some (read: many) of us never expected to be here, but alas, here we are.
So don’t berate us because we can’t name every starting five since 2011. Don’t belittle us for butchering the pronunciation of John Harrar’s [hair-uh] name or forgetting that he is the King of Delco. Don’t make us feel bad because we never saw Flavor Flav at the BJC.
Oh, and definitely don’t try to expose any of our old tweets calling for Pat Chambers to be fired. They may or may not have aged well.
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About the Author
Our photographers were on hand to capture the sights of Penn State basketball’s return to Rec Hall.
A Cathedral Is Useless If You Never Hold Mass: Penn State Basketball Should Permanently Return To Rec Hall
Rec Hall is an intimidating place to play basketball and the Bryce Jordan Center simply is not. Why not make the switch?
“I’ve just been super interested ever since that first year trying to grow my personal THON story, get more connections to it, help as many people as I can, and be that person [my mom] is for other people.”