Win One for Wally

Win One for Wally

For all of you hemming and hawing about disrespect, here’s a nice little nugget I was reminded of by a dear friend: It was the 1947 Cotton Bowl and our act of defiance that gave birth to our version of WE ARE. Remember that as some of you sit and stew over a third New Years Six bowl appearance in the past four years. So the Cotton Bowl it is and it’s time to tame a tiger from Memphis. Do you want respect, Nittany Nation? Get off that fragile soapbox and make Success With Honor mean something again.

That’s exactly what our Nittany Lions did against SMU way back in 1947 when Texas lawmakers tried to make Wally Triplett sit one out over the color of his skin. The game may have ended in a 13-13 tie but a statement was made in that year’s Cotton Bowl that reverberated across the country thanks in large part to Penn State defying the ugly face of segregation and racism. Unfortunately, Wally Triplett passed away a year ago this past November at the ripe old age of 96. I considered him a friend, if by our phone conversations alone, and can tell you all he wanted to do was see ‘the house that Joe built' one time before he left for good. He got his wish on the invite of James Franklin a couple of years ago and the Detroit-native made the most of his appearance, ultimately leading to an ESPN 30 for 30 special based on the origins of our beloved ‘We Are’ chant.


What’s that got to do with us today, you ask? Not much I guess except for the history of course. Our history. We can spend the next six months debating who came up with ‘We Are' first as we normally do during the offseason that never sleeps but I can tell you right now I know firsthand what Wally Triplett's answer would be, and I’m willing to bet he’d be beyond ecstatic to know his Nittany Lions were headed back to Texas. Unlike some of you.

So put your social media gripes away for just one second Penn Staters and seize the moment. We’ve got a date with Memphis on December 28th and it’s going to be anything but a cakewalk. The Tigers have nothing to lose and the more we stew over snubbed Roses and disrespect, the better chance they have in pulling off the upset. That’s the last thing we want, for all of you that stuck your noses up at Kentucky a year ago. After all, as much as the high and mighty side of us wants to belittle another appearance in a New Year’s Six bowl, this one just happens to be the place where ‘We Are' was born. Take that to heart and let’s win this one for Wally and all those players that took a stand back in 1947!