But that's not really the case anymore is it?
Because we know it's not over. We know that hard times remain, and that in the end, to reach our end goals, we must continue to push further, to push harder.
Athletics is the most obvious way to show what Penn State has to offer, and America's most profitable and visible is football. That happens to be one of the Athletic teams that helps represent Penn State.
It is not the only one.
Over the years I've gotten to spend time with some of the other athletes at Penn State. Most of which, you've probably never heard of. Some were like me, and only spent a year or two with a team; others were 4 year starters and captains. I've met rugby players, basketball and baseball players, track and field athletes, soccer stars, fencers and more. All of them. All of them represented Penn State just as much as any football player.
So as we transition from a great Fall season at Penn State, why not move on to a great Winter? And after that a great Spring?
I no longer want to settle for what we've already achieved, and say “Good job,” and think that the work is done. Why not pursue everything? Be the best at job placement after graduation. Become the best at both women’s and men's basketball; have the best graduation rate; continue to be the best wrestling program in the country; best initial salary for their degrees.
We would have developed on one hand, an Ivy League level academic atmosphere, while maintaining a real world love and appreciation for the athletes and the games that they play. All the while, handling ourselves with class, humility, and love for each other.
Why not take it all?
We chose to stay with Penn State, and when times got tough we responded not by escaping, or cowering, or taking a step back.
We stepped forward.
Today, we can rest on our accomplishments so far. Whether they are a Big Ten Championship, a 3.5 GPA, All-American status, Employee of the year, Coach of the year.
But I implore everyone who wears the colors of Penn State to take another step forward. To continue to actively strive to be better than they were the day before. And when we fail, because of circumstance, because of the difficulty, or simply because we are human and will never be perfect....we pick each other up and encourage each other to try again.
Students have chosen to come to Penn State from all of the country, from Hawaii, to Los Angeles, to the Midwest, to the southern states of Texas and Florida. They chose Penn State possibly over schools closer to home such as Temple, Pitt, Syracuse, Maryland, and Rutgers.
We've unfairly been given the spotlight, but now that it's here, let's keep it. Let's show our passion in our support for athletics, as well as in our pursuit of our own dreams.
For the past few weeks, I would tell anyone within earshot how I just didn't want it to stop. The feel good stories, the bond with other Penn Staters, the athletes pouring their hearts out on the field for all to see. Why not just keep getting better? Why not keep proving people wrong?
I want it all.
Every sport, every academic honor, every humanitarian honor, every positive thing one could say about a University, I want it said about Penn State.
The work will be difficult
There will be no shortcuts.
It will take sacrifice and commitment.
It will take time.
Yet I can't shake the feeling that I'm not alone in this pursuit.
And that feeling, is enough to keep you warm through the coldest of Winters.