Aside from my four years in State College, I’ve lived my entire life in the state of Maryland. I like it in Maryland, I like the diversity in the people and the land, I like the food, and I like the relative close proximity to my alma mater and the fact that there’s a ton of PSUers around. I know many on BSD have complaints or a feeling of general malaise with regards to the state; not me, I’m happy where I’m at and I have no plans to move out of the state any time soon.
Living in Maryland for my life (I won’t tell you fine folks how long that is, naturally), the one thing I had never learned was that the University of Maryland was a rival of Penn State. I grew up bleeding blue and white in the DC suburbs, in a family of Penn Staters, proudly donning my Nittany Lion starter jacket amidst a sea of pro-teams (there were no Terrapin clothes to be found), and I wasn’t the only one; everyone in my family wore our school colors proudly, and still do to this day. The fact that still, after IT and everything we’ve been through as a University publicly, I still see as many Penn State stickers on cars and t-shirts in grocery stores as I do UMD gear speaks volumes to how much we as PSUers love the University; I still think about how, on most other college campuses, you don’t see students sporting clothes for the school they’re attending—it’s so gauche. At PSU, of course, it’s what you do.
But I digress. I’ve lived in Maryland forever, and I’ve had friends that graduated from UMD for nearly as long. I like them. They like me. We talk sports, we talk school, and we all root for each others’ teams when we’re not rooting for our own. It’s a happy situation; I even recently bought the one-year-old of a Maryland grad friend PSU gear, and she loved it (incidentally, the grandson of a Rutgers grad—two for one, guys!). So imagine my surprise when, well after the most recent round of expansion was announced, the internet gets all crazy as only the internet can, and all this unabashed hate comes our way from Maryland and Big Ten Powerhouse Rutgers*.
I mean, it’s cute, I guess. You want to fit in, so you pick the school that you have to most history with to hate. You start your hate posts, you get on your soap boxes with your talk of sanctimony and your silly acronyms and your generalizations. You give anecdotes about douchy Penn State fans as if there’s a monopoly in State College (newsflash: there isn’t—every fanbase has their assholes). You lament about our coaches stealing recruits from your backyard, and then talk about how you’re going to turn around an all-time win-loss record that wouldn’t even be equaled if you won every game from now until players who are born this year come to play for your teams.
Hate all you want. At this point, I’m done caring--frankly, I should have been done at first sign, but I guess I'm a masochist. I'm past the point where I won’t even care if this year, in 2014 at the depth of our sanctions, we lose to Big Ten Powerhouse Rutgers* and Maryland. You know why? You care if you lose to a rival. And you’re not a rival.
You’re the equivalent of Purdue or Illinois or Indiana to me, and you'd be hard-pressed to find any PSUer who considers them a rival. I wasn’t one who got bent out of shape when we (finally) lost to the Hoosiers last year; I won’t get bent out of shape if we lose to the Terps or Knights this year. Because guess what?
We are Penn State. We aren’t Maryland or Big Ten Powerhouse Rutgers*.
And besides, I’d be more upset if we lost to Temple.