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Lions, Tigers, & Tendies, Oh My: A White Out Bromance To Renew Your Faith In Humanity

There’s no doubt that Saturday’s White Out brought more excitement to Happy Valley than we’ve seen in a while. With College GameDay in town, Saquon Barkley as the guest picker, and a record-setting crowd in attendance for a stellar win, it was every Penn Stater’s dream.

Displayed as pockets of orange splattered among the winter wonderland, Beaver Stadium was reminiscent of the perfect snow day, perhaps with a bit of pollution to the plowed snowy remains of State College in January. To describe this divide of orange and blue as unpleasant would be the understatement of the year, and anger came out respectively on Twitter and from the crowd of 109,958 fans.

As the respective crowds got rowdier and the stadium roared with rivalry, this bitter divide stretched with the same amount of grace as tectonic plates.

Sitting in a section closer to heaven than the field, one spirited Penn State fan was sitting a few seats away from a soon-to-be potential and unlikely friend.

This fan’s first White Out experience would certainly be one to remember, but not without his Auburn seatmate. Let’s be real, sitting next to a fan of the opposing team especially during a White Out is about as fun as needing to live through the hell of buying student section tickets.

While watching the starting lineup announcements, a fluorescent figure suddenly crowded the SKU section. An Auburn fan, beaming in citrus flavor from head to toe, appeared at the bottom of the section stairs like the Ghost of Christmas Future, only more terrifying. Walking up the staircase, this Penn State fan said a silent prayer that this fan would wander farther away, yet to his horror, this great orange sat in the empty seat next to him.

Up close, the fan was even scarier. Blue and orange striped overalls, no shirt, and armpit hair akin to a fresh perm on display for the crowd were enough to scare even the proudest Penn State fan to silence.

Awkwardness was the initial phase, as fireworks set off in Beaver only pleased one party of this unlikely duo. With thousands of boos draining out the cries of support from Auburn fans, the tension could be cut with a knife between Penn State Dad and the Great Orange Delight.

Adding insult to injury, the Great Orange Delight continued to get up and down during the game, leading Penn State Dad to the horrifying realization that perhaps this Auburn fan wasn’t wearing anything more than his southern charm under those blue and orange stripes.

Yet, as both crowds roared over flags thrown and opportunities lost, a shocking sense of friendship began to blossom between this unimaginable pair.

Once the initial cringe of cheering as complete opposites was normalized, Penn State Dad and the Great Orange Delight could be seen chatting, high-fiving, and laughing out loud, like old friends reunited over love for the game. It seemed like the pregame warnings to “Show Respect” might actually have been heard within the volcano of Beaver Stadium.

In their surprising conversation, both parties bonded over their love for each team. Comparing shakers of white and orange, the Great Orange Delight revealed he had brought his own all the way from Alabama, a level of devotion Penn State Dad appreciated greatly as a dedicated fan himself.

In a site sweet enough to make even the Nittany Lion cry, shared his chicken basket with the so-called enemy in a mutual appreciation for football fans everywhere. While sharing a chicken tendie may not seem like the most magnificent thing, this sign of peace was truly a standout event in Beaver Stadium that day, a remarkable reminder that even though we root for different sides, perhaps we are all more alike than we think.

The reflection of hospitality only continued through the final score. With ups and downs to keep every fan on their feet, an appreciation for football and in-person events after a year of solitude bonded this unlikely pair as friends instead of rivals. The Great Orange Delight and Penn State Dad exchanged “good games” and bid each other a safe trip home. Entering as enemies and leaving as friends was a fate neither dreamed of, yet left both with a marvelous tale to tell friends upon arrival home.

Sharing stories and even a chicken basket was enough to remind the crowd that while we may rep different colors on Saturdays, even the most heated rivalries boil down to two fans rooting for the game we all love.

Editors note: Names have been changed to protect the identities of these loyal fans, but you know who you are. Special thanks to these two friendly individuals for the great example of what it means to be a fan.

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About the Author

Lizzie Palmieri

Lizzie is a sophomore with an undecided major from Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Ask her about Disney World, Diet Pepsi, or dancing on the Jumbotron at Beaver Stadium. When not causing general trouble, Lizzie enjoys playing golf, performing in theatre, and being the CEO of reorganizing the fridge. Her favorite thing to do is hang with her sassy sidekick, 17-year-old Italian Greyhound, Macaroni. Follow her on Twitter @lizziepalmieri if your deepest desire is bestie vibes only.

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