Giger: Lift for Life represents true PSU culture

Today is what Penn State is all about.

Today brings Lift for Life, an event run entirely by the Nittany Lion football players that raises more than $100,000 annually to fight kidney cancer.

Along with THON, Lift for Life represents everything that is great about Penn State. It’s thoughtful, selfless, hard-working young people making a real difference in the world through their dedication and commitment to a worthy cause.

In a perfect world, when people think about Penn State, it would be wonderful if those overwhelmingly positive traits were the first things that came to mind.

That’s probably never going to be the case in the post-Sandusky scandal era.

Despite the perceptions of many who know nothing about Penn State besides the scandal, prideful Lion football players know their school is still one of the premier universities in the nation. And they don’t want to hear anything about the supposed culture problems levied in accusations from NCAA President Mark Emmert.

No one can say it better than senior offensive lineman Eric Shrive did right here:

“Every time someone brings up the culture of Penn State and the Penn State football culture, I challenge them to go look at the past 10-year history of Lift for Life and go find another college football team who’s raising $100,000 annually for rare diseases while graduating 90 percent of the players and winning a lot of football games on the field.”

Shrive is president of Penn State’s chapter of Uplifting Athletes, which puts on the Lift for Life event and other fundraisers throughout the year. He personally has raised more than $100,000 for the Kidney Cancer Association during his college career, and Penn State has raised more than $700,000 for research to fight the disease since 2003.

Shrive said more than $100,000 has been raised by Lift for Life already this year, and with the money coming in today, the football team could top last year’s record of nearly $115,000.

Unfortunately, ESPN and CNN won’t have reporters covering today’s Lift for Life event from 5-7 p.m. There won’t be live cut-ins on national shows with constant updates and analysis of the good deeds, and no one should be surprised if the national media completely ignores Lift for Life.

Good news doesn’t sell, not in a society that craves salacious scandals. Certainly, what happened at Penn State is and always will be troubling and very sad, but it doesn’t define the school or the people there.

A better definition of what Penn State stands for will be on display today at Lift for Life.

Follow Giger on Twitter @CoryGiger