September 1st will be my first game since the mid 90's (I was about 14) and my wife's first game EVER. I am from the Harrisburg area and have followed Penn State my whole life. When I was younger, I did not fully appreciate the Penn State way. When I joined the military at age 18 and started travelling the world and meeting people from all over the country I started to understand what was so special about our community, our fans and Penn State. The "dark years" actually solidified my love for Penn State as I gained perspective on what was important to us as opposed to those who I met from the other areas of the country.
As the last year has un-folded, the hardest part for me has been watching the "mob" attempting to tear down one of the most respected figures in my life. This will sound crazy to some people but even though I never met him in real life I feel like Joe Paterno was an important part of shaping me into the man I have become today, just as others would feel about their Father or Grandfather. There has been so much debate about who knew what and when they knew it. I think most of the truth has yet to come out and maybe never will. The NCAA has decided they are going to put things right by doing their best to destroy our program and wipe away what they view as Joe's greatest accomplishment. The thing is that Joe's greatest accomplishments live on in all of us that learned lessons from him and are better for it. The NCAA trying to punish us by trying to destroy our "football culture" is the silliest thing because it was never the Win-Loss record, the Bowl Games, the trophies or the awards that make PSU special. Penn State is special because of the PEOPLE and the Penn State way of doing things.
I will honestly say that even after the last year, I am more excited about this season than any other in my lifetime. I cannot wait to be in the stands for my first game since childhood and introduce my wonderful wife to something so special to me. It felt like Christmas the day those tickets came in the mail!
You can wipe records out of books and tear down statues, but you can't un-teach lessons and you can't smother someone's Pride....
WE ARE PENN STATE !!!!