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Follow Your Heart Kid, And You’ll Never Go Wrong: Devon Craley’s Senior Column

Yes, I did steal the title of my senior column from “The Sandlot,” but it’s a line that will always hold true, no matter where I go or what I do. And no, I can’t guarantee that’s the last movie reference I make in this column — and if you can correctly guess which movies I reference during this column, congrats, you’re just as much of a nerd as I am.

I can’t give anyone an honest answer as to where I’m going to be in 10 years — or even five. But, I know that if I follow my heart, I’ll never go wrong. This is the story of how I followed my heart, joined Onward State, and how it never went wrong.

My journey with Penn State really started when I was born. I grew up watching every game on Saturday. I grew up knowing people, including family members, that had gone to Penn State. I grew up with Penn State banners hanging in my room. Penn State was where my heart was. So, I followed it.

My journey with Onward State started back at the beginning of the fall semester in 2021. I had just started my first year at University Park after spending my first two years at Penn State Altoona, so I didn’t know what to expect.

I first heard of Onward State back in June 2019 when looking for an easy “how-to” guide on purchasing student football tickets. When looking at which outlet I wanted to join, I never thought of joining any other because I remembered Onward State from years before and had heard great things about it. So, I followed my heart, joined Onward State, and a year and a half later, I know I didn’t go wrong.

I remember my Onward State interview with former Managing Editor Matt DiSanto and one of my now-really good friends, Frankie Marzano. What I remembered most from that interview is that I couldn’t remember the Penn State significance of “409.” I thought it was the area code. Idiot.

That same idiot would get to cover THON twice, Penn State men’s hockey’s run in the NCAA Tournament, and beat sweep The Daily Collegian in dodgeball. Everything works out in the end, and as this retired pitcher’s journey at Penn State comes to an end, he owes everything to Onward State.

I got asked a couple of times what my senior column was going to be about, and I didn’t really know. My plan was to share some personal stories/anecdotes, as well as my appreciation for everyone at Onward State for giving me the opportunity to do so many unbelievable things over the last two years. But, something that happened recently at Champs is what I consider to be a perfect omen for the next journey in my life.

No, this isn’t that kind of bar story. So, sorry.

Part of the reason why I joined Onward State back in 2021 was that I wanted to pursue a future career as a sports journalist, and I figured OS would be a great place to start. In the year plus since then, and in my eight or so months as a student manager for the Penn State baseball team, I decided to pivot my career path more into baseball operations.

Obviously, this was a tough choice, and I had doubts as to if I was ever going to make it in the baseball industry. But, I decided to go for it, and I was lucky enough to receive an internship opportunity with USA Baseball beginning in May. I also want to give a huge thank you to Penn State baseball head coach Rob Cooper for putting in a good word for me. Thank you so much, Coop!

So, going back to my story at Champs. There were five of us in total and we all got food. If you’re familiar with ordering food at Champs, their plates are painted to look like different sports balls. I was out eating lunch with my roommate and some of his family members that came up for Blue-White Weekend.

I had just gotten done telling my roommate’s dad about my upcoming internship when I looked down at my plate to see that it was a baseball. Now the odds of that are high, I get it. But, I’m a superstitious person, so let me have my fun. I just think that it’s a perfect ending to my journey at Penn State. I went in wanting to be a journalist, so I joined Onward State, and I’m going out wanting to work in baseball. So, I ate a cajun chicken cheesesteak off of a baseball plate. Science.

My message from this story is the same: “Follow your heart kid, and you’ll never go wrong.” I followed my heart, and I know it won’t go wrong.

I said earlier that I owe so much to Onward State, and that my time here and the people I met will forever define my time here at Penn State. Now, here’s the part where I want to thank everyone who’s helped me over the last two years.

Thank you Matt DiSanto for allowing me to join Onward State and thank you to current Managing Editor Gabe Angieri for allowing me to continue to write for Onward State (And for putting your faith in me to use the little I have left in my arm to throw a dodgeball 90 mph at a Collegian staffer’s face.). Thank you to Gabe Herman, Nolan Wick, and Jack Scott for being the best people to work with on the men’s hockey beat. And, I can’t mention my time covering men’s hockey without thanking my guy Francois.

Thank you Frankie for allowing me to cover men’s hockey, sitting through Phillies playoff games at Champs with me, even though you hate the Phillies, and for taking a great picture of me with my favorite human being ever: Keith Hernandez!

“Part of the journey is the end.” (Yes, another movie quote.)

In all seriousness, which sounds weird for me to say, I want to thank everyone at Onward State for an unbelievable last two years. This blog will forever be a part of me, no matter how many journeys I go on and how many I end.

I always am one to preach looking forward and not back, but I know that what lies ahead of me would not be possible without this incredible blog and these incredible people. I have to end this journey before I go on another one. You never know what your “Endgame” is or where your final destination will be, but you will always know where you started — and part of my start will forever be associated with Onward State.

I’m ending this column with two of my favorite pictures from my two years with this great blog because Onward State is not a place, it’s a people.

“I love this place people.” — Alec Bohm — Devon Craley.

When in doubt: follow your heart kid, and you’ll never go wrong.

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About the Author

Devon Craley

Devon is a junior studying sports journalism. He has the genuine misfortune of being a Philadelphia sports fan...IYKYK. Send your hot takes and preferably your freezing cold takes on Twitter to @devon3134. Devon is also your friendly, neighborhood State College movie nerd.

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