We're now living in our second "Happy Valley." Among other things, a striking similarity between Provo and State College is the die-hard football contingent. A major difference is the capacity of the two football stadiums: Lavell Edwards Stadium maxes out at 64,045, while Beaver Stadium can seat up to 107,282 (although 110, 753 is the largest reported attendance). On Friday night, Mackenzie and I were cruising the town (yeah, you know how we roll) and we dropped into Football Eve 2009. Do you remember high school pep rallies? Well, this was an awfully bedazzled pep rally, with probably about 30,000 students and locals who, unlike high school kids, wanted to be there and showed this by wholeheartedly singing and shouting through about 50 band- and cheerleader-guided songs and cheers. The crowd was vast. My favorite cheer was when the crowd repeated "Joe-Pa-Ter-No. Joe-Pa-Ter-No." I mean, where Lavell Edwards is the prophet of BYU football, Joe Paterno is the God of Penn State football. He has his own cheer--just for him. He is beloved. He is honored. Mackenzie and I saw Joe Pa driving across campus last week in a sweet Mercedes SUV and it was a celebrity moment (as far as State College goes). I'm inserting the video of Joe Pa's speech fully understanding that it will never be as good on video as it was in the moment. In fact, the best part about the speech was that between the croud noise, a bad sound system, and Joe Pa's slurred speech and accent, Mackenzie and I could hardly understand him. People here must be apt at interpreting his words because they kept laughing and cheering while Mackenzie and I would turn to each other with confused looks. One part that I could make out and was quite inspired by is around the 3-minute mark in the video. Joe Pa says, while pounding his chest for effect, "And when we say, 'We are Penn State,' by God it's just not a slogan. It's our heart." Admittedly, I was pretty riled up when he said that, and I'm not even fully won over to Penn State yet. Penn State nation was going wild. All in all, it was fun to see Joe Pa and take in the enormity of Beaver Stadium on a night when we didn't even have to pay for it.
As for the picture above, that's me sitting a just a few feet from the TV, nervously watching the BYU-Oklahoma game by myself. I love watching important games alone because, as anyone who's watched BYU games with me knows, I need plenty of room to stretch my wings when good or bad things happen. I have fallen to my knees, writhing in agony and run all the rooms of the house in uninhibited joy.
written by Tyler at 7:40 PM