Last season I discovered the reason for the double bye week: when the season begins in August, we get two weeks off. At the time, I was a little bit excited about it. An unexpected free Saturday afternoon. Bonus. This time around we’ve had a few night games already and our second bye-week came so close to the first. I’ve had plenty of time to get in all of my fall fun. I’m feeling a bit restless. Let’s get this season moving again already.
In the absence of our team to watch, I started reading Jay Paterno’s book. Spoiler alert: I was super happy to discover that Phil Knight is one of the good guys in the end. You know, the co-founder of Nike who spoke at the funeral and then turned around and removed the Paterno name from his childcare center. His change of sides had really bummed me out and I was so happy to read how he’s felt since then. I’m only on the first chapter but it’s tough to read about that dark time surrounding the passing of Coach Paterno. That combined with some dreary, cool weather is not helping my bye-week blues.
How to banish these blues is the question. We are under 48 hours until arguably the toughest game of our season. I began by finding out what our Lions were doing on their bye-week.
Obviously, thankfully, they are practicing. But also, our coaches and players have been popping up in some interesting places. Volunteering with LifeLink special education students for pumpkin carving and painting activities. Spending time with the Bellefonte pee-wee football teams. Participating in the Centre County Down Syndrome Society’s Buddy Walk. Supporting the Mount Nittany Elementary Fun Run. Bringing pizza to Paternoville.
I don’t often think about what our players are doing with their “down” time-- wow! Full time students, full time athletes, college students, volunteers. I truly don’t know how they find the time to share so much of themselves. And you know it’s not just the football players. It’s all of our athletes and our students and I’d venture to say is all of us, too.
Did you hear about the couple that left their camera in a cab after the Ireland game earlier this season? A Penn Stater found it and the cab driver remembered that it must have been left by a couple of Penn State fans who were in the cab previously. Within a month, the camera-finder had used social media to help identify the camera owners and it had been returned. Penn Staters truly are something special. If that doesn’t reenergize me and banish those blues, I don’t know what would.
It’s time to regroup. Time to get the energy flowing and the excitement pumped up. We’ve got to come out firing on all cylinders. No room for mistakes. We’ve got a fight ahead of us this weekend. Ohio State is knocking on our door and we are ready to answer. Time to bust out your best whites and white out Beaver Stadium.
Go State! Beat the Buckeyes!