Let’s lay aside the antagonism, the anxiety, and talk about something uplifting. Nittany Nation, I have some good news for you.
Before diving into a bag of chips or munching on an Italian hoagie, football fans can feed their minds at “Huddle with the Faculty,” the lecture series held at The Nittany Lion Inn before all home football games. This season’s topics range from the art of Andy Warhol to cutting-edge surgery to mergers and acquisitions.
If you’re salivating all over yourself with excitement right now, don’t be embarrassed. You’re not alone. This means we can finally do away with boring activities like grilling, playing dizzy bat, and shotgunning beer with family and friends. Dad, put down that can of Natty Ice! It’s time to learn about mergers and acquisitions.
On the other hand, sometimes we Penn State fans become the lecturers ourselves. This becomes especially true when speaking to young children and girlfriends.
“The 1994 National College Football Championship”, I proclaimed loudly at a party the other night, “Was one of the darkest episodes in the history of modern sport.”
My girlfriend did an incredible job of keeping a straight face.
“Penn State was the victim of a byzantine plot, led by the Associated Press, and fueled by sympathy for Nebraka’s coach, Tom Osborne.”
She listened attentively as I spouted off in an alcohol-fueled rage about anti-Penn State sentiment, and the vast nationwide pro-Osborne conpiracy. “Penn State fans witnessed incredible things that year. They saw Penn State defeat a strong, ranked Ohio State team, by a score of 6 million to 5. They saw Ki-Jana Carter win a foot race against the Flash.
“Penn State showed they could win in the clutch in a legendary comeback victory against Illinois. In the Indiana game, JoePa proved himself to be a noble and valiant leader by not running up the score. Nebraska, by contrast, had a weaker schedule than Penn State, and also used to eat babies.
“The polling system was and is fundamentally flawed, and votes were biased based on final scores when voters weren’t able to watch every game themselves. The system rewarded Nebraska, and punished Penn State due to its shortsightedness.” I should have been standing behind a lectern, waving my dry-erase marker threateningly.
“The team finished its season with a glorious and convincing victory over Oregon in the Rose Bowl. The elation, however, quickly gave way to the crushed dreams and spirits of the Penn State faithful.
“The 1994 Penn State football team,” I concluded, “Undefeated, uncrowned, were the true National Champions.”
“Wow,” my girlfriend said, “You make it sound as if it were the Holocaust or something.”
I paused in drunken contemplation. “It wasn’t as bad as the Holocaust,” I decided, “but it still sucked.”
Where is your tution money going? Why am I not being paid to teach at Penn State? If “Huddle with the Faculty” isn’t your thing, next time huddle around my tailgate in the east cow fields. Once I’m suitably drunk, get yourself some real learning. I speak the truth to educate the youth.