Heading into the locker room at halftime, down by two touchdowns, reminded me of a certain other Northwestern game.
In my dining room hangs a Christmas present from my husband: a custom frame with the front page of the November 10, 2010 Centre Daily Times, a photo of the two of us at the game, and a photo I took of Joe walking among his players during the warm up. The five inch headline says one thing, “400”.
At halftime in 2010, we were losing, too. Fans were getting restless. Someone complained that a star player (Evan Royster) was overrated. Another complained the coaches didn’t have what it takes. Sound familiar?
Just like today, the fans’ endless refrains when we’re losing or sadly, even when barely winning, are tough to take. Just like in 2010, we, the faithful fans, hold our breath and hope for the best.
And then the halftime magic happens. Our players come out renewed in spirit and put points on the board. They make the big stops on D. In 2010, it was enough, more than enough, to propel us all to that extraordinary post game moment. Win number 400 for a beloved coach, who stayed so long for all of us. I will never forget standing in Beaver Stadium, hearing Joe’s words echo: “People ask me why I stay so long... Look around... Look around...”
This Saturday the halftime magic wasn’t enough. As I remind myself when my toddler’s green smoothie goes flying from the table, splashing walls as it bounces, this is not an emergency. There’s no need to get worked up. It’s okay when you make a mistake, you can always try again.
That’s just what we’ll do next week. And the week after. And the week after that. We’ll try again, and again, and again. Some days we’ll win. Some days we’ll lose. So much has changed in the last five years. But--look around--we are still, always that same proud, courageous, loyal Penn State family.