Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Penn State Football: Twelve Prayers for the Year 2012

Last year I created a little ditty based on the Twelve Days of Christmas about going to the Outback Bowl.  This holiday season, I’m in a less frivolous and much more serious mood.   

In fact, I would just as soon pray for Penn State University and its football team.  I guess I’ve been inspired a bit by the last home game against Nebraska on November 12th, when both the Penn State and Nebraska teams prayed on the field before the game. 

I look to prayers in this context primarily as a healing mechanism.  It doesn’t matter the religion you profess. If you prefer to substitute the word “hope” for “prayer” then that works as well.

Either way, there is a lot of healing needed right now when it comes to Penn State University and the situation we are confronted with given the allegations by up to twelve reported accusers who claim that they are victims of child sexual abuse by former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky. 

Except for perhaps Prayer #1, there is no order to these prayers.  They are all important, and I don’t want any reader to think that somehow one has priority over the other.    And so I will mix it up a bit.  Please don’t read anything into how I have ordered the thoughts.

Be forewarned, this is a very long blog post.  But there is a lot to pray for. 

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Penn State at Wisconsin: Ugh!

Apologies to all who have been wondering what happened to me.  People have been wondering why I didn't post my usual Sunday night blog.  Basically, I had decided to leave my computer home when we traveled to Wisconsin on Thanksgiving weekend. 

Instead I brought with me 67 papers to grade, and on that weekend and the next couple of days after we finally returned home, that took priority.  It is, after all, the end of the semester.  I have usually used Thanksgiving week to catch up on grading.

But with an away game at Ohio State the weekend before, and then another away game at Wisconsin, I didn't get as much done in-between as I had hoped.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Penn State at Ohio State: A Huge Win By A Very Determined Team

It's always tough playing at Ohio Stadium, aka the "Horseshoe", in Columbus, Ohio.  Since Penn State's first season in the Big Ten conference in 1993, we had won there only once, in 2008.  As of yesterday, make that twice! 

A 20-14 win against Ohio State Saturday night was characterized by more offense than anyone expected in the first half, and then by a complete defensive shutdown by both teams in the second half.  The six-point difference in the game made it possible for either team to win until the final seconds of the game. 

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Penn State Football: The Lion's Pride Asserts Itself

We weren't certain what to expect when we entered Beaver Stadium yesterday for the Penn State-Nebraska game.  It seemed an eternity since that miserably snowy Illinois game two weeks earlier, when Penn State eked out a win with the help of an innovative student section that distracted the Illinois kicker at the end of the game, causing the ball to fall harmlessly off the upright, and achieving Coach Joe Paterno's 409th win, the most wins in Division I history.

In just a week's time, Penn State's entire world had collapsed as we knew it.  It was a distressing week for anyone who associates themselves with Penn State:  students, faculty, staff, alumni, sports fans.  We were shocked, disgusted, ashamed, angry, afraid, confused, determined to know the truth. 

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Penn State Football: JoePa's 409th Win Delights; Fan Behavior Disappoints

The Pre-Game Warm-Up

When it comes to weather, yesterday's game forecast was about as bad as it could be.   So bad, in fact, that my husband Terry threatened to stay home.  Really?  End a 265-game attendance streak at Penn State football games because of a little snow and inconvenience in October?  At a home game?

He actually thought about watching Joe Paterno's record-breaking 409th win on TV? Assuming, of course, we won?

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Penn State at Northwestern: It's Time to Believe!

It would have been an okay trip without the win because the game was in Chicago and Chicago is always fun, a favorite big city that we could visit often and never tire of its offerings.   

But it became a fantastic trip with a win over a team that is better than its record, one that we were very worried about.  That gave Penn State all it could handle last year in Joe Paterno's 400th win.  This year it was tying the late Eddie Robinson of Grambling State for the all-time Division I-A lead in wins that was at stake.

Last night's game against the Northwestern Wildcats was reminiscent of yet another adventurous trip to Evanston, at the beginning of the 2005 Big Ten season, when for the first time in a long time I felt that a Penn State team had a chance to be something really special.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Penn State Football: Purdue is Undone; Lions Find a Way to Win

"Undo Purdue" was the Citizens Bank button this week.  And the Nittany Lions obliged.  In a game that had as many twists and turns as a Tom Clancy novel, and was, in many respects, just as unnerving, the Penn State special teams finally exerted their influence in making big plays.

This game was also entertaining, in a weird sort of way, with its back and forth, anything can happen, nature.  Nick Sukay's first of two interceptions occurred at the end of the first half and put 7-6 Penn State on Purdue's 24-yard line with 14 seconds left in the half.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Penn State Football: Impressive Win Over Iowa, Newfound Hope for Season

What a game, what a day, what an atmosphere. 

A 3:30 game on a fall day with sunny mild weather creates bar none the best tailgating atmosphere in the country.

A student section that was in their seats at the beginning of the game and loud enough to make a difference in the game.

A running game that has found its tempo behind the blocking and tackling of an offensive line.

An offense that didn't quit, even though it still had troubles in the red zone.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Penn State Football: An Ugly Win Over Indiana Doesn't Satisfy

It was an ugly game where Penn State seemed to self-destruct whenever it came close to a first down or any scoring opportunity.  Penn State eked out a 16-10 win, but in the last seconds of the game, it was possible for Indiana to beat the Lions 17-16.  Thank goodness that didn't happen.

This was the kind of game where it was too close for comfort.  Where you walk away just shaking your head and wondering how it was possible to be that bad.

About the only good things about that game was the fact that the tailgating was immediately across from the stadium in a pleasant tree shaded lot, the weather was decent, and the staff at the stadium were very helpful and bent over backwards when I asked them for some assistance.  It was a pleasant and friendly environment on a beautiful fall football Saturday.

And - lest I forget - the defense played well.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Penn State vs. Eastern Michigan: A Solid Win at a High Cost

Today we were in the mood for a simple day, and Penn State's game against Eastern Michigan fit the bill.  We were in commuter mode:  leave for the game as late as possible, don't bother with a tailgate or even drinks, get something to eat and drink in the stadium before the game, and go home immediately after the game. 

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Penn State vs. Temple: A Close Call Is Always Good

There was a decidedly different atmosphere at Lincoln Financial Field for this year's Temple-Penn State game.  The last time Penn State played there, in 2007, Penn State white dominated the stands.  The game was a sell-out.  Temple fans were sort of hard to find.

We were, after all, in Philadelphia, from where a lot of Penn State students hail, and to where a lot of alums migrate after four years in Happy Valley.  That was also the first time Penn State would play at the Lincoln Financial Field, home of both the Eagles as well as Temple football.

This year, the stands were at least 50% cherry red, and the "Linc" was less of a novelty for Penn State fans.  It definitely had more of a home game feel for Temple, rather than a neutral venue feel for Penn State. 

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Penn State vs. Alabama: Coming Up Short on a Big Night

You have to credit Alabama.  Beaver Stadium was a tough place to play on Saturday. 'Bama had never played in front of a crowd that large, 107,846 people.  The crowd noise was "over the top" from the beginning of the game until late in the third quarter, when chances for a Penn State comeback became slimmer and slimmer.

This was THE most coveted game of the season at Beaver Stadium.  It was a classic Big Ten - SEC match-up between two coaching geniuses:  Joe Paterno and Nick Saban.  

And, it was declared to be a "White House", where every Penn State fan wears white, making for an impressive sight and memory, and a very boisterous crowd, especially the student section.

In short, a big night for Penn State and Beaver Stadium.  Alabama was in town!  For the first time since 1989.  This would be fun.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Penn State vs. Alabama: Emphasis on Sportsmanship So Far So Good

Yesterday I played tour guide for my husband's son, Bob, who is visiting us for the weekend from his home in Prescott, AZ.  So of course we had to tour campus and go downtown, something I normally avoid on a Friday night of a football weekend. 

I had written about the Bama-Penn State Meet and Greet sponsored by the Centre County PA Chapter of the Penn State Alumni Association and Penn State Pride, the student sportsmanship group.  So after Bob experienced his first taste of Creamery ice cream and bought his required allotment of Penn State stuff for the kids, we set out to find a parking spot and joined this Meet and Greet for about 45 minutes.

Fan extraordinaire Paul Frankhouser was there with his Penn State Hummer.  So of course we all gathered around for photos. 

Seems everyone from Bama is having a good time.  As did we last night.  I hope it continues today.

We skipped the Rally in the Valley, since I had dinner scheduled at home that night.  However, here's the video of JoePa's speech.

He's dangerous with that cane!

JoePa at Rally in the Valley

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Penn State vs. Alabama: Returning Respect and Paying It Forward

Every person who visited Tuscaloosa, Alabama last year speaks with utmost awe about the way Joe Paterno and the Nittany Lions team and fans were treated by the Alabama Crimson Tide fans. 

At the urging of Coach Nick Saban, the Alabama students gave Coach Joe Paterno and the Penn State team a standing ovation as they entered the field at Bryant-Denny Stadium. 

In addition, individuals, including my students, came back from Tuscaloosa with stories about people going out of their way to greet them and welcome them to their tailgates.  Penn State fans in attendance were, to put it mildly, impressed by the friendliness of 'Bama fans.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

The Mascots and The Schedule - 2011

A new page on my blog.  Click here.

Penn State vs. Indiana State: A Lukewarm Opener on a Hot Hot Day

Hot! Hot! Hot!

Whew.  Glad that one is over!  Beaver Stadium was steaming hot, about 90 degrees.  It was 100.2 in the sun according to Darryl, the National Guardsman who sits in front of us who has a thermometer on his watch. Watch thermometers were useful, Darryl said, for measuring the temperature during Operation Iraqi Freedom when it could get as high as 128 in the shade.

Darryl knows.  He has been in Afghanistan and Iraq at least twice in the last few years defending our freedom.  I always breathe a sigh of relief when I see him in his seat for the first time each fall.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

As The Penn State Football Season Opens, Questions Abound…And Not Just About the Team

It is not just who is going to be quarterback for this year’s football team that has me intrigued.  Or what the heck happened to Stephfon Green that he made it so deeply into Joe Paterno’s doghouse that he was dropped from the team, and now somehow is miraculously back. 

Soon enough we will know the starting quarterback.  We may never know what the true story is with Stephfon Green.  But I’m glad to see him back on the roster.

No, my questions have to do with what’s going to happen at the first game against the Indiana State Sycamores. 

Friday, August 19, 2011

Are You Kidding Me? JoePa Got Up From That Hit?

In early June, I was at Beaver Stadium for the 2nd Annual Ladies' X's and O's Football Camp.  I spent the morning attending class and participating in drills on Beaver Stadium turf.  Then I had lunch, and heard Spider Caldwell talk about the history of Penn State jerseys and other funny facts about football equipment.

This luncheon was held on the second floor of Beaver Stadium.  Basically a carpeted floor over concrete.  On the way to a second class session on defensive strategy, my running shoe tread caught on the carpet and I tripped and fell straight forward.   I caught myself with my arms.  Head also hit the floor.  Not fun.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Are You Ready for Penn State Football? Not Me! Not Ever!

Yesterday the Penn State Football Facebook page posted a video, 20 Days, which you can view by clicking here.  Now it's 19 days and counting until the opening day on September 3, when Penn State plays Indiana State.

There is a lot to anticipate about this year’s football season, including a good home game schedule with Alabama Iowa and Nebraska being much anticipated games.    We will also experience division play this year, and the first-ever B1G championship. 

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Penn State Football: Lift for Life $94,310 Plus Raised by Players

Yesterday, the Penn State football team competed in the 9th annual Lift for Life ™ sponsored by the Penn State chapter of Uplifting Athletes.

Players sign autographs for waiting fans

Congratulations to all the Penn State football players who participated in yesterday’s Lift for Life.  Their website this morning states that they have raised $94,310.09.  Since that number reflects online donations only, event organizers expect that other proceeds at the event itself will likely surpass last year’s total of $98,461.35.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Penn State Football: #75 is my Favorite Jersey…And Leadership is The Reason

Football is in the air.  We can start counting the days. For me, counting the days is always a mixed blessing.  Football season is always a highlight of our year, but summer is something I always hate to see dwindle.   And it does seem to be dwindling fast! 

One summer football event that has me excited for fall is Penn State’s Lift for Life, which will be held next week at Holuba Hall on Friday July 8 from 2-7 p.m. 

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Penn State vs. Ohio State: Discovery vs. Complacency

My husband Terry grew up in Ohio and spent every Saturday as a child listening to radio broadcasts on Ohio State football and cheering them on to wins.  He knows the words to all the Ohio State fight songs by heart, and even today he has to restrain himself from singing them when Penn State plays Ohio State.

We have been to every game Penn State has played against Ohio State since we joined the Big Ten in 1993.  At those games we, of course, cheer for Penn State.  But we also love to watch TBDBITL - the Best Damn Band In The Land.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Penn State Football: A Novel Experience at Ladies' X's and O's Camp

At my locker, a football jersey and t-shirt are waiting
For the second year in a row, I had the privilege of participating in the Ladies' X's and O's Football Camp at Beaver Stadium, organized by Patrick Steenberge of Global Football, Inc. in cooperation with Penn State Athletics.  Taught by Penn State Assistant Coach Mike McQueary with the help of Graduate Assistant Coaches Terrell Golden, Bill Kavanaugh, and Elijah Robinson, this day promised to be even more exciting than last year's inaugural camp.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Penn State Football: Support Lift for Life on July 8!

At a time when the media are often focused on football players who do something wrong, it’s nice to focus on football players who are doing something right. 

Such is the case with Eric Shrive, who was enrolled in one of my marketing classes this spring.  He approached me to ask for help with publicizing Lift for Life®.

Lift for Life is an annual strength and conditioning competition for Penn State football players that has become a very successful fundraiser for the Kidney Cancer Foundation through Uplifting Athletes. Last year alone, Lift for Life raised $100,000.  Since 2003, Penn State football players have raised nearly $500,000.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Penn State Bloggers Encourage Donations for Alabama Tornado Relief

Kudos to Ben Jones, a senior student at Penn State and founder of the Victory Bell Rings blog, for trying to organize Penn State football related blogs to encourage donations for our friends in Tuscaloosa Alabama and surrounding communities in the South.  Other blogs such as Nittany Whiteout and  are also joining the effort and asking people to donate.

Great idea, fellow bloggers!  And let me join in also by encouraging my readers to make a personal donation to help the people in Alabama and other southern states.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Coming Up for Air (Maybe...) for Penn State's Blue-White Game

Oh my.  I feel like I have really abandoned my faithful readers this winter...a season which only now (maybe) is starting to turn to spring at University Park.  Although I'm not sure.  The weather is particularly nasty for this version of the annual football scrimmage known as the Blue-White game.

I do's just that, well, when you're teaching eighteen credits in ONE semester, it's hard to do anything else but prep for classes and grade papers. It's been a tough semester.  And the weather hasn't helped one bit!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Joe Paterno's 400th Win Necktie Being Auctioned by WPSU

Are you a Penn State fan that loves Penn State memorabilia?  Do you collect one of a kind Penn State items that are especially meaningful to you?

Or maybe you love Public Broadcasting at Penn State and want to support them in a unique way.

Or maybe you just think that having a special memento of Joe Paterno's 400th win - the necktie he wore that day - is worth something to you.

In any case, check out the items that are up for auction online as part of Penn State Public Broadcasting's 19th Annual  Connoisseur's Dinner and Auction at the Nittany Lion Inn in University Park, PA:

This is the same site that auctioned off JoePa's iconic eyeglasses last year.

Have fun with this.  Certainly it's a great cause that provides a lot of good programming.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Penn State Football: As First STEP Choices Are Made, the Software Seems to Work

It's probably not possible to speak for anybody but myself when faced with a forced relocation of seats at Beaver Stadium due to the STEP process announced last fall that moves both the student section and visitor section and causes current season ticket holders in those seats to be relocated to new seats.

What I can say is that a lot of our concerns about relocation due to STEP were relieved once we were able to access the rather sophisticated "Virtual Venue" on January 5th and view what seats were available for us in each section.  While there were some sections blocked, that didn't matter to us.  We were  interested in tickets in only one section, and that section was available to us and had plenty of alternatives.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Penn State Vs Florida: Trying to Gain Perspective on a Disappointing Loss

Greetings from Centre County PA where the mood right now among the Penn State faithful is one of outright pessimism and dismay after Saturday's grim Penn State loss to the Florida Gators.

It wasn't the fact that Penn State lost the game.  It was HOW the team lost this game that is hard to shake off.   It was just a very ugly ending. 

To paraphrase a Penn State colleague with whom we commiserated over a drink at the hotel bar in Tampa on Saturday night, "We came, we stank, we left."  He used a more modern "s" word but I can't bring myself to use that word in writing.