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Fandom in perspective

September 19, 2013 - Darian Somers
Where is the line in the sand?

When do people who eat, sleep (some in a tent three nights a week waiting for kickoff) and breathe college football have to stop?

It's really a matter of common sense.

Most recently, some LSU students crossed that line last week when a frat house on campus hung a sign in reference to the Kent State shootings.

"Getting massacred is nothing new to Kent State," the sign read.

Yes, Penn State makes banners, but we've never made them to bad-mouth opposing teams. In fact, all of the banners in the past few seasons have been for current players on the team.

Thought goes into those banners, and I'm one of those people who make them. And we always make sure they are appropriate.

Kent State, which is Penn State's opponent this week, doesn't deserve the treatment the frat house on LSU gave them, even if that event was more than 40 years ago. (The frat house has since apologized, but only after getting heavily criticized.)

Fast forward to the past three years, and Penn State has been cast by many people in a negative light.

No matter where you stand on the fallout of Jerry Sandusky scandal, it's something that current Penn Staters don't have in their control.

It's not us.

Just like the Kent State shooting wasn't Kent State.

Sure, it's easy to put labels on everything in a society where we want news faster than you can say news, but it's wrong to assume that everyone who is labeled is classified under that.

Do you think Penn State students want the scandal constantly looming over their heads and reminded of it like students in Iowa did last season when they dressed as convicts?


We want to move on.

I had the privilege to travel to Lincoln to see Penn State take on Nebraska last season. We spent most of the day walking through the streets, and a large majority of the people said "Hey, welcome to Nebraska. Good luck today."

Not one person said anything to my group of friends -- who were all dressed in blue and white and stuck out like hot sauce stain on a white shirt -- about the Sandusky case. In fact, we had people congratulate us on sticking it out and still being proud of Penn State.

So before you dawn that prison outfit or you put that banner in front of your frat house, remember who you represent.

Remember why you love college football. For the sense of family. For the sense of belonging. For the fun on Saturdays. For the tailgates, the great food and losing your voice. For all the times you've smiled and all the times you've walked out of a stadium sad because you're team lost, but the next week you still went to the game.

And remember that you represent the same school that the 22 players who duke it on the field do.

Remember, it's just a game.

I'm a sophomore at Penn State and an officer in Nittanyville, a student run organization that camps out before every home Penn State football game. Follow me on Twitter @StuffSomersSays for more updates from Gate A.

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