I’ve just got to get this off of my chest before we go on. In case you missed the point last week: some of you may prefer the ruthless, win-at-all-costs attitude, but that doesn’t mean its not possible for the rest of us to choose excellence. I’m less sad about the loss to Ohio State (because it’s just a game) than I am sad about the pervasive cut-throat attitude in sports, and in life. You win some, you lose some. You’re either getting better or you’re getting worse. You can choose success or you can choose excellence. You can whine about losing or you can dream of a healthier society.
We can rehash last week’s blog or we can bask in another sweet overtime victory.
My husband keeps walking around lamenting, “we had tickets to that game!” Yes, thanks to Lions Pride, we did. We even had a kind soul offer to send us a free ticket for the baby. This is why, despite the disheartening comments from last week, I still have faith in Penn Staters and the world. Strangers named Randy who ask nothing but that you enjoy your day in State College.
Sadly, we did not make it, hence the lamenting. A nasty cold invaded our house last week and it refuses to leave. Though my husband tried to convince me he still wanted to drag himself to the game, taking a baby is another story. Sick family plus new mom equals everybody stays in bed all weekend. So all the moms out there who gave me that “you’re crazy” look a couple weeks ago, can please start saying “I think you made the right decision.” A 20 pound, toothless baldy has come between me and my Nittany Lions. I didn’t see that coming either.
You know what else? I might actually see a silver lining in these sanctions. True, they are undeserved, unfair, and awful. But they leave us with little to worry about. We get to play for the game’s sake. We can laugh at commentators who call this weekend’s win “ugly” because we don’t have to make it look good for anybody. No, it’s not fun to miss out on a bowl game, but we also don’t have to worry about becoming bowl eligible. Each weekend, it’s truly just a game.
We have more energy to focus on educating the world about our football culture. A culture that has eight players nominated for Academic All-American consideration. Jesse Della Valle, Miles Dieffenbach, Sam Ficken, Ty Howle, Mike Hull, Ryan Keiser, Ben Kline, and John Urschel, who has a perfect 4.0 and is currently pursuing two master’s degrees.
The statements we are making this season are far beyond rankings and eligibility. We’re defining the term “student athlete.” We’re showing college football what the game used to look like before all of the outside influences got involved.
What I really didn’t see coming: the NCAA’s attempt to restrict us, has actually freed us. We play on our own terms. Win or lose, our team is a joy to watch.