There have been 3 football seasons since I have graduated from Penn State — and I have only gone back for two games. State College is a tough place to get to, it really is. From New York City you either have to rent a car and drive the whole way (that includes rental expense, gas, tolls, junk food for the car, and a driving buddy to help you stay awake), or you can take the train 3.5 hours from Penn Station to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and from there you can rent a car or if you’re lucky like me, ask to borrow a car from mom and dad. But once you have a car, the drive up to State College is about an hour and forty five minutes — but that’s without intense football traffic. With that being said, that’s why I have only gone to 2 games since graduation!
This year, I went up for the big PSU vs OSU game. Lots of my friends went up as well so it was a fun reunion (minus Alexandra and Bill though, that was a disappointment) — but overall we all had a great time. My friend Renny and I seemed to have a million tailgating invitations so we paired up and jumped around to all of them. Two tailgates specifically, I think we’d agree, were the best: our friend Marcus’s tailgate, and my former Penn State academic advisor Jamey’s tailgate.
Jamey has had the most outrageous tailgates since the beginning of time. He is a Penn State man (he was a PSU student, and a cheerleader back in the day!). Honestly, if it wasn’t for him, I may have transferred universities after my freshman year — this man changed my academic life, he helped me make sure I took all of the best classes in my major with all of the best professors. This helped me in so many ways — it lifts your spirit when you are taught by passionate professors, but it also helps you learn about what it is you want to spend the rest of your life working in. There are those people in your life that you feel so grateful to have — in my life it’s my family, a few of my closest friends, and of course there is Jamey!
Jamey and his buddies bought one of the Penn State buses that used to transport the players to Beaver Stadium in. Now it’s a party bus (with a bathroom for the girls!) Outside of the bus is where everyone is — the grills are set up, people are cooking away, everyone at the party is really hosting the party… “You don’t have a beer? Let me get you one!” …
At Jamey’s tailgate, I couldn’t help but eat — meatball hoagies and a cheesesteak! Oh, so yummy! I was telling Renny how delicious my cheesesteak was, I whispered that it was obvious that whoever made the meat had it slow cooking for hours — the meaty juice kept all of the ingredients so flavorful! Luckily, the right person overheard me say that — the chef of the dish said she slow cooked it for “manyyyyy” hours! (Yes, folks, Penn Staters take pride in their tailgating food.)
After putting some food in our stomachs, it was “communion time”. This is a tradition at Jamey’s tailgate where everyone gathers around with a shot of Jagermeister; Jamey leads several Penn State chants, everyone joins him, and at the end everyone takes their shot of Jager. Lets just say I cringe every time (then I gag).
(Please note: Jamey does not serve underage people at his tailgate)
After Jamey’s tailgate we headed over to spend time with Marcus and the rest of the crew. It was fun to see everyone, although I wish we were all able to have more weekends like it! Everyone lives scattered across the States — I guess that’s just what happens after graduation.
But Penn State tailgaters are always so friendly — everyone is always welcome, there’s always food, beer, (wine drinkers, sorry, go home), games, and everything Penn State-themed! People customize their RVs to have Penn State designs on them, then there’s the beer pong tables that dub PSU or PENN STATE across them, everything at this University’s tailgating is themed to a T.
This year, a student painted his outfit and himself GOLD and posed in the same position Joe Paterno was in in his famous sculpture — everyone lined up to take a picture next to this guy. Obviously I did the same thing!
Into the game we went where I bought (of course) my Penn State hot chocolate collectors mug — yup, I’m a dork!
Being inside of Beaver Stadium before kick-off — your heart races, you join in on all of the chants and cheers. Now I know what it specifically feels like to be there and be an alumnae — you look at the student section and remember a few things: that joy of being there and being a “Penn State student”, the energy of all of the students around you, and then there’s that horrible feeling in your feet you experience towards the end of the second quarter. Every game, whether you’re a student or an old-fart, you are high-fiving everyone around you when there’s a touchdown, you’re screaming in disappointment when someone fumbles or a ref makes a bad call, and you are always yelling at the top of your lungs “WE ARE … PENN STATE!”
The outcome of the game. We lost.
All I have to say is… we better win next year!
LETS GO STATE!
ROAR, LIONS ROAR!