The Pause

The Pause

This season feels like a roller coaster to me-- the part when your car clicks into the mechanism that pulls it to the top of the first, biggest hill. Clink, clink, clink. At first, it’s all excitement. Starting the season ranked, we mostly sailed through Akron, Pittsburgh, and Georgia State.

Clink, clink, clink, bump. Then there’s that unexpected bump, perhaps by the name of Iowa, that makes your brain start to imagine the entire train derailing. Now a feeling of anxiety mixes into your excitement. You scarcely dare to look down.

All season we’ve been clink, clink, clinking up that big hill. Slowly, steadily, rhythmically. Clink, Clink, Indiana, Northwestern. All you can see is what is directly in front of you. Clink, clink...clink…… clink…. Here we are, at the pinnacle looking out over nothing and everything at the same time. The ride lulls for just long enough to build maximum anticipation.

You know that feeling? That dramatic pause at the top of that immense initial incline that makes your heart start pounding? That’s this bye week break: half the season behind us and Michigan, Ohio State, and Michigan State looming as large as mountains before us.


Some of us, like me, squinch our eyes shut, hold our breath and hope we make it to the end without puking or dying. Some of us, open our eyes wide and scream with terror and excitement.

I never get on a ride without watching it go around once first so I know what to expect, but there’s no peeking at the course of a season. What will the next stretch hold? We can’t tell. Whatever will be will be. We can only hold on tight.

The next three weeks are going to be quite a ride. We’re the third best team in the nation, the most entertaining team to watch. We’re heisman hopeful and defensively dominating. That's everything and it's nothing.

In a few months we’ll shakily climb off the ride, walk out of the gate, look at the people around us, and talk about how insane that just was. It was the best or the worst ever, and we were in it together.

That’s what we’re really holding tight to, after all. It’s not the thrill of the offense or the power of the defense. It’s not the bumps in the kicking game. It’s not the ranking or the awards. It’s you, me, and every one of the Nittany Lions who hopped aboard this highly anticipated ride in September. We wouldn't get off this roller coaster even if we could. We love every heart-stopping moment. Grab the nearest Penn Stater and hang on tight!