We’re expanding again! As the football season is only a few weeks away, it seems weird that we’re adding someone who’s primarily going to be part of our basketball coverage...but that’s the way it works here at Black Shoe Diaries. Please join us in welcoming Aaron to the BSD family! Aaron, in his own words:
Hi everyone! My name is Aaron Yorke and I’ve been contributing over at Off Tackle Empire for the past few years. It’s a great place to get perspectives from different types of fans from across Big Ten country, but it’s a bad place to be if you want to talk to other people who believe in Trace McSorley. Anyway, since I first started with SB Nation, I’ve had my eye on Black Shoe Diaries as a site I’d love to be a part of because of how passionate I am about Penn State athletics.
When I arrived on campus as a student in 2004, I knew I was about to become a big college football fan. What I didn’t realize was how deeply I would fall in love with the struggling basketball program. It’s amazing what a nearby arena, cheap concessions, and easily accessible front-row seats can do. Okay, Geary Claxton, Jamelle Cornley, Talor Battle, and Tim Frazier might have had something to do with that as well.
Cheering on the basketball team wasn’t always the coolest thing to do, but after I graduated in 2008 I was rewarded with an NIT championship that I got to see in person and even a berth in the NCAA Tournament. Watching as Penn State was announced on Selection Sunday in 2011 is one of my most memorable moments as a fan, even if it only involved me sitting at home in suburban New Jersey. Now I feel like I’m joining BSD at the perfect time because of how Pat Chambers’s recruiting efforts in Philadelphia have started to pay off in a big way. I know we’re all hoping that this year’s bumper crop of recruits is truly the start of something big and not just a flash in the pan. I’m psyched to help cover the freshmen from the first time they hit the floor at the Bryce Jordan Center.
For now, though, most of the Penn State fan’s focus is on football season. The past couple of years have been somewhat frustrating as highly-touted recruits haven’t led to elite production on the field, but I’m sure the program will grow stronger as the coaching situation grows more stable. Of my two most memorable Penn State football experiences – vs. Ohio State in 2005 and vs. Illinois in 2011 – one came in a season that Penn State fans won’t soon forget and one came during a season that we’d all like to forget. Despite all the work we put into preseason predictions and analysis, you never really know what’s right around the corner with this team.
When I’m not following Penn State athletics or the NFL and my New York Giants or the New York Mets, I’m usually being a pretty big nerd. I’ve been way into Pokemon for much longer than the past month and I’m a pretty big WWE fan as well. We’ll have plenty of time to talk about that stuff later, though. Thanks for having me, BSD!