All The Blessings
One morning in 1995, I walked into my junior high homeroom wearing my white Penn State Rose Bowl Champions sweatshirt. The kid who sat behind me looked up and said, “Penn State stinks.” An undefeated, untied season, and a Rose Bowl victory wasn’t enough for this guy. Likely his 14 year old self meant, “I don’t like Penn State,” which of course was his prerogative. Likely many of the adults out there raging about a possible 10-2 season mean, “I’m disappointed because I wanted my team to be the best and it’s not,” which of course is a better way to express oneself than demanding the firing of the head coach and trashing the program in the comment sections of every article.
I knew I’d ruffle some feathers with my outrageously bold assertion last week. It turns out my own feathers got ruffled in the process. It seems that so many fans are disappointed in this season; I guess I’m disappointed in the fans. And if I’m completely honest, it's kind of embarrassing to be connected to a group whose loudest members are foaming at the mouth.
I voiced my frustrations with the anger to my family on Sunday and my 10 year old quoted me to me, reminding us that I had already written this season that there are plenty of lion-hearted fans around who still believe in our program and our players if only I would look.
Does being pleased with a 10-2 season and probably a New Year's Six bowl game mean we are settling for mediocrity? I don’t think so.
Some of us just enjoy watching the team play, win or lose. Some of us find happiness in the competition. Some of us still believe that “Success and excellence are not the same. Excellence grows within a person, is largely within that person’s control, and its meaning lasts. Success is measured externally, by comparison to others, is often outside our control, and is perishable.”
Not all of us want to win at all costs. Not all of us turn our disappointment into rage.
And I am here to speak up for those of us who have not given up. Those of us who continue to bleed blue and white. Those of us who are willing and who choose to look for the many positives our Penn State Football program demonstrates. We are not lowering our expectations or accepting mediocrity. We are choosing our perspective.
“I think that this is a really special place at this university and this football program,” senior and transfer Hunter Nourzad said. “Just embodying our core values and having the ability to move through adversity in a very calm and confident way, that’s what makes us Penn State.”
In his post-game press conference, Coach Franklin said he feels really good about the culture of the football program. “There's a ton of positives. There are obviously some areas that we have to get better and I take full responsibility for that. But there's also a ton of positives if people are willing to talk about them.” Later he added, “I don’t take it for granted. I wake up and as much as I can I want to focus on all the blessings that I have and that we have being at Penn State.”
Can we, the loyal and true Penn Staters, please get a little bit louder?
Because all in all it was a good day Saturday. It was senior day. We beat Rutgers, who has not scored a touchdown in Beaver Stadium since 1994. Some old friends showed up to support our team, including honorary captain Mike Gesicki in a James Franklin hoodie.
We end our regular season with a Friday night game against Michigan State. Go State! Beat the Spartans!