They Are Penn State
The opportunity in a brief span of time to prove everyone wrong.
Over the past two months the Penn State men’s basketball team has heard it all.
How they have no talent. That they’re too young. That they lost Frazier and their year was over anyway. Next year, next year.
The idea of not winning a single conference game.
No one expected them to win.
Some didn’t know if they would even keep trying.
But last night showed that a group of people, through times of great adversity, can group together and accomplish great things. That the destiny so many expect, can be changed by their actions. That other people don’t determine your future.
Weeks ago, I wrote about the difficulty of going through a losing streak. The challenges mentally that one goes through while outwardly struggling. And how I hoped the team would respond. The team finally got to express how much they’ve responded last night as they overcame perception as well as a talented and game Wolverine squad.
This was not Michigan playing a bad game and Penn State pouncing on an opportunity. It was about Penn State playing a great game against a great Michigan team and winning.
Athletics to me has always been about having a public opportunity to prove something. To prove something to yourself, to others, or to both. In the world of collegiate athletics, you are attempting to prove that you can do two things at once; that you can be a productive and educated student in the world of academia, as well as train and perform at a high level physically at a given sport.
With incredible efforts displayed all over the court, by both teams mind you, Penn State emerged the victor and players and fans alike get to taste a bit of sweetness. After getting close to that elusive win against Iowa at home, then traveling to Ann Arbor and Champagne and again coming up just short of their ultimate goal, last night’s win was a moment to prove that they belonged to Penn State as any other student-athlete.
Being a part of Penn State is more than winning and losing. It’s about the amount of passion we compete with. It’s about pride we have to become excellent. It’s about how we treat one another as people. It’s about knowing that while we are capable of doing incredible things, we are susceptible to failure. It’s about helping each other back up.
Last night, the Men’s Basketball team proved to its fans, to its doubters, and most importantly to themselves, that they were not talentless, that they were not too young, and that they were not a one man team. Last night, they proved that they embodied the values that I will always associate with Penn State.
In short…THEY are Penn State.