Monday, September 14, 2009
I have just returned from an excellent day in Happy Valley watching Penn State pull a lack luster win over Syracuse. The weekend started out by having six Syracuse alumni come and stay at our home. The alumni consisted of die hard fans who knew that they were coming to see a loss, none the less they came anyways. We know two of them very well as my wife's cousin was the link to the group.
Heather's cousin was the homecoming queen for Syracuse in 2007 and her fiance was one of the football team's managers while he was an undergrad. Several months ago they took us up on our invite to spend the weekend at our house for the game. As time got closer, more and more of their friends asked to come along on their trip. Since we had the space and extra tickets, we gladly invited all six of them to our home and experience football at Penn State. The couples arrived friday evening around 9:00pm and after some brief introductions, we ended up in the cigar room drinking whiskey and smoking cigars. This was an excellent time for us to get to know one another and discuss the next days events.
I explained to them that we would be leaving around 5:30am for the noon kick off. Since they were die hard Syracuse fans, they understood the importance of getting to a game early enough to beat the traffic and put in a full shift of tailgating. One of the guys was curious as to how the fans treat the opposing fans. He said that he had heard stories of how crazy the fans at Penn State can get. I informed him that most of our fans are good ambassadors to our university and like any big college program, there were always a few undesirables who tarnish the reputation of the entire fan base. I ensured them that they were to receive a warm welcome on Saturday as they were not posing any threat for an upset. I informed the Syracuse fans that this is not necessarily the case for the big games as I have witnessed PSU fans get pretty ugly towards opposing team fans. I told him that this is a very unfortunate occurrence because I believe that Penn State stands above other universities on so many levels, I wished that all of the fans would acknowledge that and do the same. As the night wore on, we continued the discussion of the game and lost track of time. I realized that it was 1:15am and we were getting up at 4:30am.
Well, as you can imagine, I did not factor in for all of the extra women in my house. Because there were so many women getting ready in the morning, we did not leave until after 6:00am. Once we were on the road, we had smooth sailing until we hit game traffic 12 miles outside Beaver Stadium. We sat in traffic for almost an hour until we started moving again. Once we got to the stadium and parked, we got our stuff together and made our way to our tailgating spot. Once there, our Syracuse guests were relieved to meet other Syracuse alumni. They all agreed that Beaver Stadium was the most impressive stadium that they had ever seen. I thought this was an impressive comment considering some of these guys traveled all around with the Syracuse football team and saw many other stadiums. After a while, it was time to go into the stadium and see the game.
The game was probably one of the more boring games that I had seen in person to date. If it were not for my guests, I would have broken my rule and left early to beat the traffic. Once the game was over, we met up at the vehicles and drank some more beer before we went home. I was thanked by all of our Syracuse guests for giving them a tour of the area and being an ambassador to my university. I responded with my courtesies and we got in our vehicles and trekked home to York. We spent the rest of the evening watching college football and recounting the days events. Alas, Sunday morning arrived and my guests had to leave. I thanked them for coming down to PA and visiting with us. They thanked my wife and I for such a terrific weekend and being host to them. I responded by telling them that when you are a Penn Stater, it is a privilege to let everyone know that we are the best alumni in the world.