Even by my own clumsy standards, I managed to completely outdo myself early this fall. While in the process of carrying some things down the stairs, I somehow missed a step, causing my feet to go out from underneath me as I went airborne halway down the staircase. Since my hands were full at the time, I had no way of trying to catch myself to soften the blow, landing on my ass or head (I’m still not sure which hit first, but both took a hefty blow). The total damage- a bruised tailbone, a bad cut on my right arm and a nasty concussion that has impacted just about all aspects of my life for more than a month now.
Fortunately, I’m doing much better now. I still need to take things easy until my energy level returns to normal, but the headache that perturbed me for several weeks finally seems to be behind me- leaving me with a new appreciation of the simple joys that come along with being a Penn State football fan.
While recovering from the concussion, I had to swear off any type of strenuous activity, both physical and mental. This means no watching TV, no social media, no electronics of any kind, no reading or writing. Basically, no way of following or enjoying a third of the college football season.
Needless to say, it wasn’t a fun experience. Not only was I unable to enjoy the time of year that I look forward to the most, I also lost out on memories of watching Penn State find itself as a team in time to pull off an overtime thriller against Minnesota or a pleasantly unexpected annihilation of Maryland. Not only did I miss plenty of memorable moments on the field, but also the car rides with my dad, meeting up with friends new and old throughout the day, walks through the crowded downtown area, as well as the post-game beers and greasy food as I settled in at Champs to watch all the night games on the walls lined with TVs.
I’ve always been an obsessive college football fan, but am now just realizing how much I appreciate all the aspects that I truly enjoy. The ability to immerse myself in games from noon until late into the night now leaves me downright giddy. The fact I can watch a full Penn State game, living and dying on each play, is something I won’t take for granted again- even when it’s one of those disastrous Saturdays when it seems like nothing can go their way.
We’re now in peak football season. Enough time has passed to separate the contenders from the also-rans. The rankings actually mean something by this point, and with each week there is more on the line. The air is crisp, the 3:30 games are mostly played under the lights, and the scenery throughout the drive to Beaver Stadium is breathtaking.
Penn State has a team that is young and hungry, and with each passing week is gradually finding its identity. They may find themselves out of the top 25, but there’s no doubt they leave it all on the field each Saturday. They have persevered despite an unlikely rash of injuries on defense, while the offense is developing into an exciting unit that looks to get the Beaver Stadium crowd roaring once again.
While things may not always go Penn State’s way on the gridiron, do not let it prevent you from enjoying this wonderful time of year that brings us all together through a collective love of the game.