I'm basically a virgin in the world of BSD. I signed up shortly after the scandal and Joe's firing so that I could have a place to commiserate and vent with others like me.
Since I joined, Penn State has obviously been in a very dark place. Our coach and, for many of us, our moral compass, was fired unceremoniously. We have been accused of everything from ignorance to support of child rape. Our university has been painted with a broad brush by a media searching for a scapegoat in the face of horrific crimes. Many of the topics on this site have reflected this negative world that PSU has inhabited for the past few months. That isn't an indictment of the commentators or post writers, but a reflection of the inevitable subject material we have had to deal with.
I, like many here, hated everything about anything dealing with college football since November 9th. I hated having to explain myself when I told someone where I went to school. I hated feeling helpless in the face of a much more powerful media piling on the university I love. I hated when people would praise other schools as if they were better than us. I hated it all. And now that things have calmed down relatively and we can now argue about coaching searches and which awful quarterback we like more, I am glad that I was around to go through this.
90% (rough estimate) of sports is inherently negative. "Our coach is over his head." "Our star player is overpaid and thinks he's better than he actually is." "We'll never win a championship like this" and so on and so on. We love to hate the players on our favorite team. As soon as you win though, everyone involved can do no wrong. This happened with the '04 Red Sox, and it will happen with the Cubs and Detroit Lions too. What brings fan bases together is the dark years, the negative years. While the fans are piling on the team, we come together to support each other, whether through self deprecating humor or support in moments of actual tears. We become a stronger, better fan base as a result.
I started at Penn State in 2005 (I know, I'm young as shit), so I was lucky in that nearly my entire time in State College (5 years. I took the scenic route) has seen a successful football team. So I wasn't around for the bad times in the early 2000's and the sporadic rough years before that. This is my first face off with adversity, and I'm a hopelessly optimistic sports fan. I believe in halftime locker room pep talks. I believe in intangibles and that we could have come back in the 2008 Rose Bowl and Monday's Ticketcity Bowl. And I believe that the adversity we face as an alumni/fan base now will be good for us in the future.
I look forward, in 2023, to when Penn State wins its next national championship with our 2nd head coach since Joe, and that coach gets up on the podium and hoists that ridiculous crystal football trophy, and some a-hole ESPN reporter asks some asinine question about what the win means for us after the Sandusky scandal, and our head coach ignores it and holds up the trophy and faces the Penn Staters that are still there and yells "WE ARE" and we respond "PENN STATE" louder than ever before, and the past few months will be worth it. I'll turn to whomever I'm watching with and say, 'We deserve this. This was worth it.' Because that championship will mean more to our school than John Capaletti's Heisman or the two championships during the 80's. And dare I say, it'll mean more to us than any national championship has meant to any team before us. It'll mean more because Penn State means more to us now than it did before November 9th. We have always been a family, but, much like a death in the family can bring everyone together, this scandal and its aftermath has, and will continue to bring us together. I will always envy incoming freshman moving into East Halls. But they won't know what we've been through, and I'm proud that I've experienced the past couple months, in a twisted, badge of honor type of way.
I know that much of sports is negative, unless you are currently winning a championship or have just won one. And I know that BSD and Penn State fans everywhere will complain about the next head coach, the next quarterback and the next you-name-it for years to come. But for now, I'll embrace that, because I'm the type of sports fan who always sees the sun rising just over the horizon. Our next coach may start 2-10, but I'll still find a way to convince myself that the next year, the B1G championship is within reach. And I'll continue to do that until it comes true. So bring on Clements. Bring on O'Brien, Roman, Mullen and Munchak. Bring on McGloin and his moxie, Bolden and his horrible accuracy and PJ and his 1.5 GPA. I don't care who the next qb is. I don't care who the next coach is. Because maybe, just maybe, one of them can turn into what a man from Brown University was over half a century ago.
If they had the internet back then, I'm sure there would be blogs all over the place that would be pessimistic about our chances to start the 1966 football season. We went 5-5 that year. I'd say things turned out pretty well since then.