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Leaving My Ohio State Family To Become A Penn Stater

Sometimes there’s nothing more fun than a sports rivalry. It’s all a part of being a sports fan and makes watching games all that more exciting and interesting.

However, sports rivalries between family members are quite a different ballgame.

Sports feuds among families can lead to some awkward dinners and chaotic matchups. After all, it’s hard to not fraternize with the enemy when they’re your own blood.

The sports rivalry in my family didn’t begin until I went to college but ended up being one most Nittany Lions fans know all too well: Ohio State vs. Penn State.

I was born in Ohio State University’s hospital and grew up in a house near campus. My dad went to graduate school at Ohio State and eventually taught there. After we moved from Ohio, it became a yearly tradition to fly up for a game and tailgate with all my dad’s friends and the folks who still taught there.

In high school, everyone assumed I was Ohio State-bound…until I announced I was going to Penn State. I received countless calls and messages about my decision and was constantly asked why I chose Penn State.

Although my dad teases me about going to Penn State (and our lack of wins against Ohio State), he has always been supportive. He even ventured as far as boldly putting a Penn State flag up next to his Ohio State flag.

This notable effort still doesn’t outweigh the room in our house dedicated to Ohio State memorabilia, but it’s progress! His Buckeye friends and our die-hard Buckeye family have provided support through teasing and taunting jokes. Fortunately, I’ve learned to love the teasing and questioning because it allows me to prove why Penn State is better.

It’s all fun and games until gameday. Last year, we watched the Ohio State-Penn State game at a bar since the game was over fall break. Little did I know it was a Buckeye Bar, and I was the only Penn State fan there. Not only was I the only person in the family who was Penn State fan, but I was the only one in the room.

That’s my reality, and it adds more excitement to gameday. This year will be no different, except this time, with a blue moon on gameday, the universe is on our side cheering for Penn State.

Although I have respect for Ohio State and a lot of my childhood was spent on its campus and in its stadium, I traded in my Buckeye gear for blue and white last year and I haven’t looked back. The constant explaining gives me pain at times, but it also gives me pride that I chose the right school for me, even with all my ties to Ohio State.

If you were to tell me I’d be cheering for Penn State 10 years ago, I’d have laughed in your face. But here I am, clad in blue and white, after countless Ohio State games and an endless supply of Ohio State merch. Some people may say I’m disloyal for trading teams, but I call that character development.

Being a Buckeye may run in my blood, but I’m a Penn Stater forever.

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About the Author

Aubrey Miller

Aubrey is a third-year landscape architecture major and a writer for Onward State. She is from North Carolina, but can't stand country music. Aubrey is obsessed with her four cats, and some would say too obsessed. Feel free to follow her on Instagram @aubreymillerr to see her cat posts.


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