Instead, the game-ending field goal was kicked and there I sat, pinned to my couch, despairing. What happened? What just happened?
I didn't get to put on my rose bowl colored glasses. Instead I got a dose of reality. It stung.
With a moment of perspective, it’s not so bad that we lost. This isn’t a fairy tale. It’s real life and it’s messy. The team we love doesn’t always win.
If anything, the loss endears this team to me all the more.
It's true what they say about losses showing your character. And the character shown by this football team is above reproach, unmatched, and of the highest caliber. Absolutely Unrivaled.
Just look at what they said after the game-- not after a few days of calming down, not after taking the time to gain perspective. Immediately after the game, still sweaty and muddy, our Penn State team offered these wise and humble words:
Malik Golden: I’m forever grateful to be a Penn Stater. I probably won’t go down as the best Penn State player ever… but as long as I can go down as one of the most loyal players I’ll be fine with that.
Saquon Barkley: The seniors kept this program alive and we just wanted to send them off on the right note and we fell short on that today… we’ll use this as motivation to be the best team we can be next year.
James Franklin: That game doesn’t define us. It’s the whole season, it’s what these guys did, how they persevered, how they loved one another, how they cared for one another. I couldn’t be more proud. I wouldn’t be any more proud sitting here tonight with a win.
Franklin goes on to reiterate his praise of the USC team and his pride for his own players, and especially for his seniors. He chokes up as he says, “me, specifically, and Penn State, will be indebted to you for a very long time.”
Watch the interviews. They’ll have you in tears, too, because we all rode this roller coaster together. We, too, are sad to see this team play its last game together. What a ride it's been: exciting, entertaining, emotional, and inspiring. We’ll never fall short in the “has heart” column.
Carry on, Nittany Lions. We’ll meet again this spring. Until then, walk with a little extra bounce in your step and enjoy the rosey glow of success with honor.
We have no need for the rose bowl colored glasses. This is a program we can always be proud of, win or lose.