During my childhood and adolescence, a big highlight of my week during the fall was getting home from school on Thursdays and immediately pulling out the Youngstown Vindicator's sports page. Each Thursday, I could count on a column about Penn State Football- why Bobby Engram is the best receiver in school history, why the offense failed to get things going against Wisconsin, does the team really have what it takes to compete for a national championship? I eagerly read through and savored every word in black ink that gave me a window into the my beloved Nittany Lions program.
It seems so insignificant these days when a world of news (and plenty of non-news) is instantly available right inside your pocket. But at the time, there wasn't much available for a Penn State fan living in Buckeye Country. Outside of my Thursday columns, I was basically limited to the few pages dedicated to Penn State in a preseason college football preview magazine that I would re-read over and over throughout the fall, the contents of the program from my annual trip to Beaver Stadium, and a few sporadic press releases along with game notes posted on the the university's website.
Flash forward to 2006. I was a recent college graduate, who like most people in their early twenties, knew absolutely nothing but thought I knew everything. During a random phone conversation with my dad, he mentioned this new Penn State website he recently started visiting called Black Shoe Diaries. I forgot about it immediately after hanging up the phone. When he brought it up again, I scribbled the name on a sticky note, where it sat on my desk for another month or so. I finally got around to visiting BSD, and outside of my wedding day and honeymoon, have been coming back several times per day ever since.
It sure has been an eventful decade to kick off the BSD era. There was a surprise Big Ten football title, a heated quarterback controversy that spanned two full seasons, new all-time tackle and rushing leaders, a former walk-on who came out of nowhere to become the best defensive player in the nation, and two dramatic head coaching searches. There was a tourney appearance, an NIT championship and what feels like hours of Talor Battle highlights. There have been numerous national championships, both team and individual, and the historic rise of volleyball and wrestling dynasties. There was the introduction of a brand new hockey program that seems destined for excellence in the coming years. There was also one of the biggest scandals in sports history that denoted the darkest hour in Penn State's history and nearly brought down the entire program, and nearly five years later still finds a home in national headlines on a regular basis.
We covered every twist and turn for the past decade, from the minuscule to the earth-shattering. We've done all this despite the fact there has never been a full-time employee dedicated to the site. The faces have come and gone, but we've all had one thing in common- the dedication to serve a passionate fanbase while juggling careers, school, significant others, and life in general. We do this because we love Penn State, and we love being part of this unique, enthusiastic and sometime maddening community. We may not be a 24-hour outlet with a full-time staff, but we like to think we've made everything we've posted over the years count for something. Based on all the regular support we've received, I'd like to think we've succeeded.
We've made it this far because of you. Without a large audience that visits us on the good days and bad for Penn State, there would be no BSD. There have been thousands of memes created here and countless debates, ranging from breakfast meats, to why recruiting stars matter, to the latest casualties on Game of Thrones. There's no doubt that you have played an important part of building an extraordinary community that have made it possible for us to reach this milestone. Some of you have been along for the ride since the beginning. Others are brand new. But however long you've been with us, we couldn't ask for a better group of readers to help us build our own little corner of the internet.
In the coming weeks, we'll be bringing you plenty of content that discusses the best teams, players, moments, and much more to reflect on the past decade. We hope you enjoy reading everything as much we enjoy putting it together for you.
It's been an absolute blast to be part of this community for the past 10 years. I'm sure someone else will be writing similar posts down the road that reflect on BSD's milestones and everything that has happened at Penn State during that time. I can't wait to read it, and see just how far we've come along together.
Now let's celebrate in proper BSD fashion. GIF party, anyone?