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MMQB: What's the best Penn State-related gift you ever received?

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Jared Slanina

With the holiday season upon us, today's MMQB: What is the best Penn State-related gift you have ever received? What made it so special to you? Fill us in on all the details below.

I actually have two to share- one for sentimental reasons and one because I was just blown away by the sheer awesomeness of the gift.

During the doldrums of the Dark Years, my grandma gave me a grey Penn State hoodie that had the letters stitched on. I was still in college at the time, so you can imagine the value of having a new warm and cozy hoodie for my treks around campus. What made it so special is that it turned out to be the last Christmas gift I received from her before she passed away the following November.

I always had a fantastic bond with my grandma, and the fact that we were both football junkies played always gave us something to enjoy together. She started to lose her hearing in her old age, so as her hearing became worse, she became more interested in sports since it gave her something to watch without having to hear the television. And she was a true football fan if I've ever known one. She would live and breathe with each play, usually yelling and throw stuff at the TV, and just had a blast watching any game she could find. She liked Penn State because that was me and my dad's team, but thanks to her devout faith she was especially fond of Notre Dame. Any time Notre Dame was in a tight contest she would get so worked up that she would give herself a massive headache and spend the rest of the evening in bed. She was a true fan.

When my wife moved into the house before our wedding, I took that grey hoodie out of the closet and told her that no matter how old and ratty that shirt became, she was to never, ever discard it or place it in our Goodwill pile.

The second gift was a belated wedding present that was well worth the wait. I have a very good friend from high school who is the niece of Michael Zordich Sr. (and obviously, the first-cousin of Mike Zordich). During my bachelor party, she told me that she was extremely sorry, but our wedding gift would not be ready in time for the wedding and that she would have to get it to me another time. She checked in a couple more times afterwards to tell me the present still wasn't ready but wanted to reassure me that she had not forgotten about us and it will be sent to us as soon as possible. She has always been the creative type, so I just assumed we would be receiving some cool homemade gift and that she just neded to find the time to complete it. Around this time last year, a package came addressed to my wife and I. I had assumed it was a result of my wife's online shopping and didn't think much of it. When my wife returned home that evening, she told me that she wasn't expecting anything and that I should open it. I did just that, and out popped a case that was holding a Penn State football autographed by Matt McGloin, Mike Mauti, Jordan Hill, Mike Yancich and Mike Zordich. Obviously I was floored, and spent the next couple days gazing at it. Thanks to what those players gave to Penn State, it will forever remain one of my most prized possessions.

So those are my stories. What are yours?