I reread my blog from this time last year, wondering where my head and heart were then. We were flying high after a roller coaster season that ended with a huge win against Wisconsin. What a difference a year makes.
We’ve had a difficult run to say the least. I thought I’d feel relief when we played our last game. Sadly, I’m a bit deflated. Ending the season with a loss is no fun. I’m glad we’re looking forward to a bowl game. It’s bittersweet, but it’s something to celebrate.
It occurred to me recently that the last of Joe’s players are graduating. We still haven’t said goodbye to Joe properly and now his last players are headed out the door. What is left? What will the future hold? Out with the old and in with the new. It feels like the final, final end of an era.
Our seniors join those who graduated in the past two years as part of a quietly heroic group of players that held up our program when it looked as though the sky was falling. For that, they’ll always be endeared to us. I’ve loved watching their awards roll in this week. We are so proud of you. We are so thankful for you.
We sing, “when we stood at childhood’s gate, shapeless in the hands of fate, thou didst mold us Dear Old State”. I’ve often thought about the ways in which Penn State has molded my life, but until the last few years, I’d rarely considered the ways in which we all mold our Dear Old State.
I’m so thankful for all of you fellow Lions, who keep saying the hopeful things. Rebuilding takes time. There’s light at the end of this tunnel. We’re winning in ways the scoreboard doesn’t show.
I know in years to come there will be more of Joe’s players. There will be children and eventually grandchildren of Joe’s players. But, it’s so hard to say goodbye to yesterday.
It’s so hard to say goodbye to yesterday. I can’t get that Boys II Men song out of my head. Every time I sit down to write, I hear it. “When we get to see tomorrow, I hope it will be worth the wait. It’s so hard to say goodbye to yesterday.”
When we finally get to see the sunshine after the rain and we look back on this six and six season, I imagine we’ll remember it almost fondly. We’ll think of it in the same way we remember other triumphs over adversity: it was hard but we made it through. We’ll remember the strength and character of our players. We’ll remember the loyalty and tenacity of each other. We’ll remember how we experienced the meaning of our cheer, We are Penn State.
When my son climbs the stairs, he does it slowly and purposefully. Sometimes he stops and looks down at all the steps he’s already conquered. I’ve said this phrase to him so often that he now repeats it to himself: keep going, almost made it.
We are the ones molding our Dear Old State. Let’s keep going. We’ve almost made it.