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Take Your Shirt Off: An Open Letter To Athletic Director Dr. Patrick Kraft

If you were watching the jumbotron during Penn State football’s home game against Northwestern a few weeks ago, you may have seen me up there. I was the guy with his shirt off in the rain for five hours. Most likely, your dad saw me and mentioned it to you in passing.

Frankie Marzano | Onward State

The Northwestern game was one game in a long line of Penn State sporting events that I attend shirtless, in what my friends and I have dubbed, “the Skin Out,” named after Penn State’s famous White Out. Sun or clouds, snow or rain, you can find me at a Penn State soccer game with no shirt on. The image at the top of this article was taken at the men’s soccer Big Ten championship last year, a snowy festival in which I’m happy to say I did my part (literally nothing) to push Penn State to a 3-0 win.

Those who go to more than just football games know that Penn State’s new athletic director, Dr. Pat Kraft, attends nearly every Penn State sporting event. I can count on one hand the number of games I haven’t seen him at, and I go to a ton of games around campus. From soccer to field hockey to volleyball, he’s there.

Within the first few months of his job, the good doctor was introduced to the Skin Out at a women’s soccer match. After I briefly shook his hand, Kraft said that he appreciated the Skin Out and hoped to see it when the weather in State College turned cold, so I could really prove how tough I was.

The time for toughness has now come, Dr. Kraft (may I call you Pat? I will). Penn State just had its first snowfall, and the weather isn’t getting any warmer. I will continue to Skin Out. It’s a freeing adventure, as much as I lose feeling in my fingers, face, arms, and chest area.

Pat, I’m now inviting you to join the Skin Out, the spectacular spectacle sweeping Penn State (just me, really). If you’re already attending the games, why not take things a step further? Support your Nittany Lions in the best and most unnecessary way possible: shirtless.

If you really want to prove your Penn State fandom, join me in the Skin Out. Think of it as a rite of passage. How can you command the respect of James Franklin and Neeli Bendapudi if you can’t command the respect of a dozen freshmen standing around you?

Prove your fandom toward Penn State sports, Pat. Experience the joy, the pain, and the pride in having the wind blow into your rock-hard nipples. Cheer Penn State to victory while physically vibrating against a metal rail. Yell at the top of your lungs knowing that you’re risking hypothermic shock. It’s the only way to truly support the Nittany Lions.

If you ever want to join in the glory of the Skin Out, Pat, you know where to find me. I’ll be at a Penn State sporting event, shirtless and free. I hope to see you there.

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About the Author

Joe Lister

Joe is a senior journalism major at Penn State and Onward State's managing editor. He writes about everything Penn State, especially its 10-2 football team. If you want to find him, Joe's usually watching soccer with his shirt off or at the gym with his shirt on. For dumb stuff, follow him on Twitter (iamjoelister). For serious stuff, email him ([email protected]).

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