I remember as a freshman, I barely knew what Blue-White weekend was. Before you die-hard alumni laugh at me, I am the first person in my family to go to Penn State. I am the start of the legacy, so no one taught me the ropes of how to tailgate, how to paint my face in blue and white, or what to even do for a football game. I vividly recall going for a run the morning of the Blue-White game, coming up on Park Avenue, and being dumbfounded as to why everyone was tailgating. I raced back to my dorm and quickly found out, then joined in the festivities.
The following three years, Blue-White weekend has served as one of the best weekends of spring semester. While I still go for a morning run on gameday Saturday, I plan a bit better now to be back in time for the fun.
This year, the meaning of Blue-White hit home for me. Now that I have locked in a full-time job postgrad, am planning a big move cross-country, and have to budget for the “real world,” I am starting to see just why Penn State football is so meaningful to many people.
It’s not really about whether we win or lose (although winning is preferred), it’s about escaping whatever it is in life that isn’t quite perfect, and hanging out with at least 70 thousand people you instantly have a connection with. You might not know the tailgaters next to you, but you sure as heck know they also love Penn State, barbecue, Beaver Stadium, and more than likely have some blue and white face paint somewhere in the car.
Hanging out with my friends at tailgates this year for Blue-White, eventually heading into the stadium to watch the final minutes of the game and stepping on that sacred turf one last time reminded me that as Penn Staters, we are all connected, even long after graduation has come and gone.
No matter what happens, good or bad, Beaver Stadium will still be here. Blue-White weekend will still come around once a year on a magical Saturday in April. Penn Staters will still love their barbecues and tailgates, regardless of the weather. And somehow, all 700 thousand alums and 48 thousand students will turn out just fine, as long as we have Penn State football to keep us grounded.
Thank you for four years of showing me what family is all about, Blue-White weekend. Here’s hoping I’ll be back for many more - this time, as an alumna.