| || |
October 26, 2012 - Darian Somers
All week I have been having flashbacks to Oct. 8, 2005, Penn State vs. Ohio State. I also have been seeing images from that day all week long. We've been talking about that game here in Nittanyville, and what images stick out in our head the most. This may sound cliché, but all week I kept thinking about Tamba Hali's hit that literally turned Ohio State quaterback, Troy Smith, upside down and the ensuing fumble. That play has been flashing across my head, and all week I keep wondering what will be the image that comes from this game.
But today, I decided to watch a short video from that game, and all I keep thinking about is the student section, the sea of white that filled up the south endzone of Beaver Stadium. When I looked at the film from that game, thoughts from the past months of the comments about why Penn State would never be the same and why it won't be Penn State football also crept into my mind. "It's not going to be Penn State," they said. "Things will never be the same."
I keep thinking about those thoughts, and then last night, I looked around Nittanyville. I thought about the record 140 groups and the 1200 students. I looked at nearly everyone wearing at least one article of Penn State clothing. I looked at the tents that have Penn State flags draped over them. I looked at the THON organizations tents, and people wearing THON gear. I looked at the people studying and thought "a football culture?"
Penn State isn't a football culture. Penn State isn't just about football. It just so happens that Penn State's football team embodies the spirit of what it means to go to Penn State. It's just the place where we show our pride the most and a common place to come together for several weekends in the fall. Penn State is a community and a family. You can see it when people donate to THON on a canning trip. You hear the stories of alumni bring coffee to canners. You see it when the final total is shown at THON. One in every 117 people that went to college in America, went here. Penn State love is everywhere. Family members in Texas have told me how they have seen people constantly wearing Penn State gear within the past few months.
But Penn State's reach is worldwide. I remember hearing a story of a friend who was on vacation in Ireland and went into a pub. Someone sitting in the pub had a Penn State hoodie on. Penn State people take care of one another, just like a family. I was once told by an alumni that his boss will give people who are applying for jobs and went to Penn State a better chance of getting hired. His boss was also an alumni. You see it when Penn State students develop new technology in medicine and engineering.
You also see it when alumni take care of current students. Last night at Nittanyville, several groups of alumni dropped food off for us. But it goes beyond the people dropping off food, you hear about alumni passing on traditions and sharing experiences from their years in the happiest of valleys.
In last November, a lot of people thought that that 2005 student section would never happen. People would stop coming to games. People had given up. Those people I'm referring to aren't Penn State family members.
Sure, Penn State football is the biggest part about Penn State, but it's not everything. Penn State family members are leaning on each other to get through this time, and Penn State family members are going to make this place two times what it was in the past by honoring that past. It is well on it's way, and that will be seen tomorrow as Beaver Stadium transforms into a white blanket. We are not going to forget what Joe Paterno did for this university. We are also going to look for guidance from Bill O'Brien. However, Penn State fans will find guidance from one another. We already have. Student sections like the 2005's, and like the one tomorrow will happen again, because the student section, the people out here in Nittanyville, the alumni sitting all around us are family. We are, we have always been, we will always be......a family.