October keeps us on edge with different surprises



In politics, an “October Surprise” is defined by Webster’s Dictionary as “a revelation disclosed in the month prior to an election, often orchestrated in the hopes of dramatically influencing the result.” And we’ve had to watch plenty of them during the last few weeks of the presidential campaign.

But Ohio State got an October Surprise of their own over the weekend, courtesy of the Penn State Nittany Lions, on a history-making night in Happy Valley.

The replays continued throughout the weekend of the blocked field goal by Marcus Allen, returned by Grant Haley for the game-winning touchdown, as a white-out Beaver Stadium crowd went crazy.

It was a fantastic fourth quarter-comeback story, the kind that movies are made of.

Just as David defeated Goliath, we love it when the underdog triumphs — And PSU was definitely the underdog, with some odds-makers giving No. 2 Ohio State an 18-point advantage over the unranked Nittany Lions.

But inspite of the pundit’s predictions and all of the on-paper comparisons of the pending match-up between the OSU dynasty and the up-and-coming Lions, more than 100,000 fans went into the stadium on Saturday with that tiny hope that the football stars would align and gridiron magic will happen.

And it did.

And it’s moments like that which make sports worth watching; that lightning-in-a-bottle, once-in-a-lifetime, crazy, amazing, phenomenal moment when the odds are defied and the unlikely becomes reality.

October has offered its share of pleasant surprises on the diamond as well, with the two most championship-hungry teams in baseball preparing to square off in the World Series.

Chicago Cubs fans have been living in a state of underdog for generations, their last trip to the World Series was 71 years ago; their last championship was in 1908.

The Cleveland Indians brought home their last title in 1948.

Both teams have families of followers who have never seen their team play as they will tonight, on baseball’s biggest stage.

Early odds out of Las Vegas make the Cubs the favorite, after a season in which they seem to be a team of destiny. But rather than gambling, money might be better spent purchasing a coveted ticket to the historic series, which are reportedly going for thousands of dollars, and as much as $20,000 for a chance to see Game 7.

I remember my father letting us stay up late (even on school nights) to watch his beloved Philadelphia Phillies play in the 1980 World Series. He said it may be the only chance in our lifetime to witness it.

Cubs and Indians fans may feel the same way, especially after waiting as long as they have, a combined 176 years.

The World Series is always a treat to watch, but this year, no matter who wins, it will be the triumph of an underdog, and a very special October surprise.

Kellie Goodman Shaffer can be reached at kellie@bedfordcountychamber.org. Her column appears on Tuesdays.