Ruffle My Feathers, a weekly sports column by Justin Lewis
BACK FOR THE FIRST TIME
The Penn State University football team was back on the field this past Saturday and they brought some friends. In fact 90,000 plus came to cheer on/stand by their University and their football team/staff. Rallies were held instead of ruckus; smiles replaced angry and befuddled expressions; and there was a different air in the building. Keep in mind I am not a fan of their previous coach, but I am always a fan of giving our youth an opportunity to better themselves and give them the ability to show others how to overcome negative situations if/when they arise.
I was proud to witness the support and events that took place at Beaver Stadium last week. All week everyone wondered how it would go in terms of fan base, on-field performance, media hype/belittling, or what have you; and I must say that everything I saw was awesome. Anxious fans waited for hours at the tunnel entrance and lined the road like a parade route just to see the student-athletes/coaches arrive in team buses; fans chanted “Joe Pa-ter-no…” before turning their attention to their new commander and chief Bill O’Brien; and Paterno’s widow Sue attended the game and was asked how she felt about the situation and the game and she simply stated, “I just want us to win.” The most eerie thing to me was something that didn’t happen. For the first game in over 60 years Joe Paterno didn’t lead his team onto the field.
In regards to on the field performance the young men played their hearts out and even though the score didn’t end up in their favor, they scored big in everyone’s heart. Of course any football fan or analyst will question these young men for losing to a team like Ohio (no offense) given their University’s winning tradition but to that I say, hear those comments, but don’t listen to them. This team was originally composed of a lot of “big-time” talent in the form of recruits but the recruits chose another path that included the opportunity of playing under the big lights in Bowl Games. I’m not mad at them at all for making that decision. You have to do what’s best for you and your family and if people don’t understand that then those are the kinds of people you DON’T need in your life, PERIOD!
Again the team played great Saturday they just didn’t score enough points to win, but just to get out on that field and play to the best of their ability is a great achievement. Keep in mind their defense and running game would have been awesome had those recruits chose to attend Penn State (and if they lived up to the hype/high rankings), but that’s neither here nor there. Right now you play the games with whoever is on your roster. By doing that they will most definitely determine what kind of TEAM/COACHING staff they are and like the old saying goes, “It’s not how many times you get knocked down its how many times you get back up.” I’d much rather have 1-star recruits with heart and determination instead of 5-star recruits (you can’t measure heart with stars) who think the world revolves around them. You may not win many games but you will definitely ensure we are led into a future that is full of great leaders and innovators.
Just to be clear, by no means am I disregarding what those victims and families have gone through (in this article) due to those heinous acts committed by the guilty parties.
I know that I should end this saying something about moral victories and being the bigger people in this scenario, but I’m not! The competitor in me wants to say this to the coaches and current student-athletes (after they felt the sting of this loss), its not how many times you lose its how many times you get back up following that loss and work hard so you can NEVER EVER feel that way again!
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