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‘Genius Lyrics’ Breakdown of The THON 2020 Line Dance

This year’s THON line dance has officially arrived, and with that, we’re here to break down the lyrics and explain every last reference scattered throughout the song.

From TikTok to Alex Morgan sipping tea and Penn State football winning the Cotton Bowl, we’re pretty sure that this year’s line dance covers all the bases. Here are the meanings behind every lyric of this year’s line dance.

Verse 1

Franklin signs, stays home // Cotton Bowl, #LAWNBOYZ

Penn State football head coach James Franklin agreed to a six-year contract extension that’ll run through the 2025 season in December. The deal will keep Franklin in charge of Penn State’s football program for the foreseeable future after he led the Nittany Lions to a Cotton Bowl victory over Memphis and a third 11-win season in the past four years in 2019.

A big part of the football team’s success was, of course, its four-headed monster at running back. Journey Brown, Noah Cain, Devyn Ford, and Ricky Slade all made key contributions and, more importantly, had flashy #LawnBoyz chains to rock after scoring touchdowns. The chains were an absolute internet sensation when they made their TV debut during the Nittany Lions’ blowout win at Maryland.

BRGR, Roots, Hello // Sad to see the Diner go

The Diner closed after nearly 80 years in business on College Ave., and it was eventually replaced by Hello Bistro — a Pittsburgh fast casual staple. Next door, BRGR, another Yinzer favorite, opened up, serving burgers, shakes, and a bar.

In addition to BRGR, Roots Natural Kitchen brought a healthy-eating option to East Beaver Ave. when it opened last year. The restaurant serves its signature salad and grain bowls while also allowing customers to create their own dishes.

Old Main tower, what’s the plan // Did your football ticket scan?

Old Main’s iconic bell tower underwent renovations throughout the fall semester, so it was covered in black scaffolding throughout that process. Although ESPN never confirmed this, the renovations are likely responsible for College GameDay relocating to the HUB Lawn for the 2019 White Out.

Additionally, Penn State Athletics transitioned to Ticketmaster’s exclusively-mobile system for home games this year. The system didn’t run all that smoothly in the early stages of the 2019 football season, but once people got the hang of how everything worked, things went a bit more smoothly for fans entering Beaver Stadium.

ABP, bye bye // Miles helps the Eagles fly

Penn State running back Miles Sanders was selected in the second round (No. 53 overall) by the Philadelphia Eagles in the 2019 NFL Draft, and he made a name for himself by putting together a dazzling rookie season for the Birds. He accumulated 1,327 yards from scrimmage and found the end zone six times to help the Eagles win the NFC East.

Penn State’s campus said goodbye to its four Au Bon Pain locations, which were all renovated and converted to Panera Bread over the summer.

CAPS endowment grows again // Look around, you have a friend

Penn State’s class of 2020 picked an endowment for CAPS as its parting gift to the university. CAPS is the university’s main mental health service for students in need of any type of assistance.

Century of endless stories // Dear Old State, for the glory

Homecoming’s 2019’s theme was “A Century Of Stories” to commemorate the 100th Homecoming in Happy Valley. This year’s festivities were capped off by Penn State football’s 35-7 victory over Purdue at Beaver Stadium, and the team rocked its snazzy throwback uniforms in the victory.

JoBros Burnin’ Up downtown // Penn State sports win all around

It was only a matter of time before the Jonas Brothers were mentioned in the line dance because of their well-documented love affair with Penn State. The boys were back in town for a concert at the Bryce Jordan Center in September, and Joe and Nick stopped by Champs Downtown after the show to ~hang out~ with fans.

Elsewhere, 2019-20 has been an excellent year for Penn State Athletics so far. On top of football’s 11-2 record and Cotton Bowl victory, Penn State men’s basketball has won 20 games and is a virtual lock to qualify for the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2011.

Penn State men’s and women’s soccer both had excellent seasons. The men finished as runners-up in the Big Ten while the women captured this season’s tournament title. Penn State wrestling and men’s lacrosse are both top-five teams in the nation, and men’s hockey has hovered in and around the top 10 all season.

Hardwood Lions, play it cool // Say it with me, B-BALL SCHOOL!

Penn State has transformed into a bit of a basketball school throughout the first couple months of 2020. Pat Chambers’ squad rode an eight-game winning streak to vault all the way up to No. 9 in the AP Top 25 poll. Although that win streak has since ended, the Nittany Lions have a genuine chance to win both the Big Ten’s regular season title and postseason tournament.

Verse 2

Congresswomen take a stand // Greta fights for climate change

Seventeen-year-old Greta Thunberg was named TIME Magazine’s 2019 Person of the Year for her action and advocacy in the fight against climate change. Despite being antagonized by President Trump, Thunberg has camped outside Sweden’s Parliament, met with the Pope, and inspired 4,000,000 people to join the Climate Strike — a worldwide protest urging world leaders to take action towards combating climate change.

In June, President Trump publicly suggested that “progressive Democrat Congresswomen” should step down and return to their home countries on Twitter. Although he didn’t name anyone, Trump’s tweets were referring to Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, Michigan’s Rashida Tlaib, New York’s Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Massachusetts’ Ayanna Pressley. Known as the “Squad,” all four have publicly vowed to combat Trump’s “hateful” policy-making.

Firefighters lend a hand // Save Australia’s wild lands

Brutal bushfires have ravaged Australia beginning in June of last year. The fires, which are still going today, have burned more than 10,000,000 hectares of land in Australia, destroyed thousands of homes, and killed and injured dozens of people. Fire crews have worked constantly towards stopping the fires since they began in June.

Plastic banned in EU // Britain gets booted, too

The people of the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union by a 52-48 margin on June 24. England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland are no longer members of the EU as of January 31. The “Brexit” campaign has led to the United Kingdom and European Union’s transition period, and the two sides will work out how their relationship will move forward over the next 11 months.

The European Union passed and approved a law to ban single-use plastic items on March 28. Among the items banned include plastic cutlery, plates, and straws in an effort to reduce marine pollution caused by these products being wasted.

Women’s pay is not a game // College athletes own their name

The United States Women’s National soccer Team’s 2019 World Cup victory was accompanied by the team’s #EqualPay campaign. Despite having much more on-field success than their male counterparts, the USWNT’s players are paid far less, and a federal judge rejected US Soccer’s argument that no discrimination exists within its program. This resolution marked a huge step in the right direction towards equality in sports and, more importantly, the empowerment of young women across the country.

Although the NCAA still doesn’t allow its student-athletes to make money off their likenesses, college athletics’ governing body budged on its typically-stout stance late in 2019. The NCAA began the process of updating certain by-laws to allow student-athletes to get paid via their names, images, and likenesses. Although the NCAA’s announcement hasn’t actually changed any policies yet, the fact that college athletics’ governing body budged on the issue is a step in the right direction on the road to getting athletes paid.

Mamba! Mentality // Kobe leaves his legacy

NBA legend Kobe Bryant tragically passed away in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California on January 26. Bryant’s daughter, Gianna, and seven others also died in the accident that took place on a foggy Sunday morning in southern California. Bryant was travelling to one of Gianna’s basketball games along with a teammate and her family.

Bryant was one of the greatest players in NBA history during his career, so his death sparked a firestorm of responses on social media — including many from Penn Staters. Players from both of the university’s basketball programs honored Bryant in a number of different ways, including with special shoes, t-shirts, and moments of silence.

Black hole pic, big reveal // 50 years since Buzz and Neil

The United States celebrated the 50th anniversary of astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong becoming the first human beings to set foot on the moon on July 20. Armstrong passed away in 2012, but Aldrin is still alive at the age of 90.

In other space-related news, scientists captured the first-ever photograph of a black hole in April. This was thought to be impossible before it happened, but the black hole captured on camera is said to be 6.5 billion times more massive than the sun.

Flames go up, Notre Dame // Record-breaking marathon

The 850-year-old Notre Dame cathedral in France was engulfed by a major fire back in April. Although the medieval cathedral wasn’t totally destroyed in the fire, its spire and roof were both damaged. This year was the first in nearly two centuries in which the cathedral did not host a Christmas day mass, which was canceled as repair efforts continue.

In 2019, Kenyan runner Eliud Kipchoge became the first human being to run an entire marathon in fewer than two hours. He did so at the Vienna Marathon in Austria’s capital city.

Meg and Harry ditch the queen // Tiger! Back in green

One of the greatest redemption stories in all of sports reached its peak when golf legend Tiger Woods won the 2019 Masters in April. Woods beat Xander Schauffele, Brooks Koepka, and Dustin Johnson by one stroke to capture his fifth green jacket and 15th major tournament victory in his career.

Last month, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry decided to step back as senior royals in Great Britain. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will now split their time between living in the United Kingdom and United States, but they didn’t consult any other member of the Royal Family before making this decision.

Verse 3

Throw it back with Disney Plus // Baby Yoda, love you much

Disney launched its very own streaming service on November 12, and it sent shockwaves throughout the industry. Netflix lost more than 1,000,000 subscribers in the month after its release, and Disney Plus has accumulated more than 28 million subscribers in its first three months of existence.

Baby Yoda was as much of a viral sensation as any meme that’s come out over the past few years, as memes stemming from his appearance in The Mandalorian swept across social media beginning in December.

Join the Storm of 51 // YouTube cancels everyone

A Facebook campaign to storm Area 51 — one of the most highly-classified military bases in the United States — gained more than 2,000,000 RSVPs over the summer. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your perspective), all of those 2,000,000 people did not show up, and nobody actually stormed the military base. The reason for the desired storm? Conspiracy theories suggesting there might be aliens on the base exist.

Cancel culture has led to YouTube content creators losing thousands of subscribers in a matter of days — or in some more severe cases, hours. To briefly summarize, somebody gets “canceled” when bad things they’ve done in the past come into the public light.

Trebek’s final Jeopardy // Alex Morgan sips some tea

Alex Morgan — one of the USWNT’s brightest stars throughout its 2019 World Cup triumph — went viral after celebrating a goal against England by pretending to sip a cup of tea with her pinky finger out. Morgan’s gesture was a different level of disrespectful, and many actually took exception to one of the greatest cellys in sports history.

Longtime “Jeopardy” host Alex Trebek announced in March that he was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. His battle with the illness forced him to step away from his duties hosting the popular game show — a role he’s held since 1984. As one of the most beloved figures in American pop culture, Trebek has received tons of support from fans. Although the lyric says it’s Trebek’s final Jeopardy, he has said he has no plans of retiring.

Endgame passes Avatar // Thrones finale? Subpar!

HBO hit Game of Thrones came to a close on May 19. The show’s finale — and final season, really — was not received well from diehard fans. After its first six seasons all featured 10 episodes, the final two seasons of HBO’s adaptation of “A Song of Ice and Fire” combined for just 13 episodes — including six in the final year.

SPOILERS: During season eight, all the people worked together to defeat the Ice King and his army of Wight Walkers, Daenerys and her army conquered and destroyed King’s Landing, Cersei and Jaime Lannister died when their castle in King’s Landing was crushed, Jon Snow stabbed Daenerys after she became a mad queen, Daenerys’ dragon destroyed The Iron Throne as a measure of retaliation, and Bran Stark (!!!) was named the new king of Westeros.

The Avengers: Endgame also became the highest-grossing movie of all-time in 2019. The movie beat Avatar‘s record of $2.789 billion in revenue within just 13 weeks of being released.

Old Town Road, all-time bop // Colton jumps the fence, one hop

Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road” (and its many, many remixes) dominated music throughout 2019. The song actually dropped in late 2018, but that didn’t stop the country rap hit No. 1 on Billboard’s charts and stayed there for a long, long time — a record 19 consecutive weeks, to be exact. It’s hard to explain just how viral this song went in just one paragraph, but trust me — it went viral.

Elsewhere, The Bachelor once again captured the hearts of viewers across the country, but no moment on the show was as iconic as Colton jumping the fence. Poor Colton poured his heart out to Cassie just before she ripped his heart out, and the guy’s only response was simple: jumping over a fence. Toby Flenderson, eat your heart out.

TikTok is a hashtag mood // Taylor ends her label feud

Ever since Vine’s tragic death, the world has needed a source of video content that requires zero attention span. Enter TikTok, which finally exploded after launching in 2016. The video app reached 1 billion users earlier this year, and you can hardly log onto social media without seeing somebody‘s TikTok.

Elsewhere, Taylor Swift publicly feuded with her former record label in November of this year. Big Machine Records still owns the rights to Swift’s first six albums — including Fearless, Speak Now, and Red. Scooter Braun bought the label (and therefore, the rights to Swift’s first six albums) earlier this year, and he won’t allow her to perform any of her classic jams. Swift is going to re-record her old albums beginning in November of this year as a result.

Jedi Rise, show’s Ray’s past // Popeye’s puts Fil-A on blast

Nothing beats a good ol’ fashioned feud between fast-food chains. The two fried chicken giants got into a bit of a spat on Twitter over which has the best sandwich. The real winner, however, was none other than Wendy’s.

The latest Star Wars film, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker debuted to mixed reviews. The film concluded the newest trilogy and revealed some whacky details about Rey’s family history. We spilled the tea on Game Of Thrones’ final season before, so we’ll spare you the spoilers here.

Ok boomer, just one sec // Can I get a vibe check? *woah*

Three for the price of one, baby! We’ve got a trio of internet memes to break down here, so without further ado, let’s dive in:

“Ok boomer” is the newest, hippest way to let someone know that you disagree with their comment. Shutting somebody down with a solid “Ok boomer” means that you’re invalidating their opinion by likening it to that of a Baby Boomer (read: old person).

“Vibe check” is a surefire way to indicate when you want someone to check on your emotional state. The term was actually first posted on Urban Dictionary in 2011, but it only went ~viral~ over the course of this past year.

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About the Author

Mikey Mandarino

In the most upsetting turn of events, Mikey graduated from Penn State with a digital & print journalism degree in the spring of 2020. He covered Penn State football and served as an editor for Onward State from 2018 until his graduation. Mikey is from Bedminster, New Jersey, so naturally, he spends lots of time yelling about all the best things his home state has to offer. Mikey also loves to play golf, but he sucks at it because golf is really hard. If you, for some reason, feel compelled to see what Mikey has to say on the internet, follow him on Twitter @Mikey_Mandarino. You can also get in touch with Mikey via his big-boy email address:

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