As part of out Black Shoe Diaries ten-year anniversary series, we take a look at some of the more unique articles, fanposts, and moments shared over the past ten years. Take a walk through memory lane. In just a few short weeks, another series of memories will be made and shared here on the Black Shoe Diaries.
Greatest Hits-Ben Scaff
Initially the idea was to scour through the entire BSD collection to find a collective best-of from former writers. Our recently retired and emeritus professor of Film Room Studies has enough material on his own to fill out this section. Here’s a few of my favorites from the Scaff collection.
At a time when the entire BSD and Penn State community was facing negativity from all sides, Ben Scaff was able to find the ability to satirize the situation. A misspelling of a new BSD staff member’s name in the process has led to a permanent name-change among our community. Who doesn’t like breakfast meats?
Another comedic reaction to Penn State’s kicking woes in 2012 eased the pain of the loss to Virginia.
Scaff penned another all-time great just a few months ago when he used Film Room to explain the benefits of Chess and a Two-Back Spread. It’s worth another read in preparation for the upcoming season.
Mike Hubbell, the originator of BSD had seen enough of the trick plays in September of 2006. He wrote a Letter to Joe Paterno that outlined his feelings that the coach should get the ball to his trio of great receivers; Deon Butler, Derrick Williams, and Jordan Norwood. After a 2-2 start to the season with losses to No.4 Notre Dame and No.1 Ohio State, a call to ‘stop the gimmick plays’ became the first BSD post that questioned the coaching staff’s decision-making. Mike was clear that he did not want coach Paterno to be fired.
Here’s the open-thread following the loss to Iowa football in 2008. There was sadness but also some levity. A couple of days later an early BSD recruiting article, complete with the siren, welcomed Gary Gilliam to Penn State. The hot take by BSD was pretty spot-on.
He may be an offensive tackle at the collegiate level, although you can probably assume he'll get a shot at tight end.
Here’s one last relic from our past. By December of 2010 Mike Hubbell had seen enough. This would not be the last time someone here at BSD called for the job of the men’s basketball coach. Hubbell declared that it was time for Ed DeChellis to be fired.
Current Staff’s Best Of
Managing editor Jared Slanina faced difficult feelings when he took a look back at the 2011 Nebraska game a year later. With a whirlwind of emotions and stunned fans in his midst, his game-day experience encapsulates what many were feeling.
Here’s what Jared had to say about the process.
Writing for BSD is always a fun and pleasurable experience, but this is the one time I really had to push myself to complete a difficult piece. In writing this article, I forced myself to re-live my experience at the 2011 Nebraska game, much of which I had conveniently tucked away in the back of my memory. By the time I was finished, I was emotionally drained. I walked out of my office, poured myself a drink and sat in the living room staring out the window for a good 20 minutes to gather myself.
In another post concerning a lost football game, Ohio State in 2014, Jared found a much happier line of thinking. His thoughts were raw and once again likely the same as what many of our readers were feeling at the time.
The 2014 loss to Ohio State was the first time I left Beaver Stadium with a smile on my face after watching my beloved Nittany Lions be defeated. After returning home the next day, I started picking up leaves in my yard and couldn't quite stop thinking about the big picture following that game. I ran inside and quickly typed up my thoughts in about 10 minutes.
A comedic take, sharing advice for those who need a list of excuses to justify sitting on the couch for the majority of the weekend each fall, rounds out his list. We could all use this as a primer for the upcoming season. It’s nice to have some excuses chambered and ready to go.
Adam goes back to the summer of 2011 and a post that he did that recounted the Penn State versus Nebraska game in 2002. Here’s what he has to say about the experience.
The Nebraska article was more or less my first longer form piece at BSD, and one of the most personal for me. That game was the focal point of my first month in college, and the time where I began to actually understand what Penn State was all about. It wasn't even necessarily about the game, although the result was fantastic. The atmosphere that surrounded campus the weeks leading up to the game captured exactly the community feeling that has existed on campus.
As time went on Adam has become known as one of the legal minds in our midst. During the tumultuous 2012 football off-season, he chronicled the news from a unique perspective. On June 23, 2012, he penned a poignant article following the Sandusky verdict.
Admittedly, the indictment and its aftermath have affected my connection to the program. When I look back, I'm glad that I had the opportunity to express myself about the trial and verdict. Writing so much about the scandal and the legal implications for all parties have made it tremendously difficult to write about football for football's sake, though.
My personal favorite post that I was a part of was written by Bill DiFilippo. It took place this year following the TaxSlayer Bowl. Minutes after the game the media converged around Christian Hackenberg to get his decision on whether he planned to stay at Penn State for his final year of eligibility or head to the NFL. Hackenberg deflected the first several attempts by the reporters inquiring about his decision, saying some things that he wanted to say first. A majority of the reporters left the area thinking that he was not going to make the announcement. I was able to huddle up close to Hackenberg and the moment I pushed record on my camera, he made the announcement. The audio was bad because it was so darn loud in the hallway. I was holding a silly little camera compared to the other outlets, who moved their Hubble Telescope devices over to where Anthony Zettel was holding court. BSD was one of only three outlets to get audio and video of the announcement even though dozens of entities were present, including all of the large outlets. We were the first to publish audio and video together with a short article. Bill took the video and turned it around in fifteen minutes. It was fun to be a part of breaking news, and cool that we scooped so many outlets that get paid to be there. It makes me wonder what it would feel like to show up to my real job only to see a sports reporter sitting in my spot.
Yeah, he’s going to do your job today. He paid his own transportation, lodging and is willing to work for free. I don’t know, maybe you should go get a cup of coffee and dust off your resume. Can you work for less than nothing?
One of my own posts that I had a good time writing came as a fanpost after the four-overtime win versus Michigan in 2013. That same weekend the hockey team played its first official game at Pegula Ice Arena. There was so much happiness in our community that I felt obligated to gloat a little bit. Usually an early-bird, I woke up that morning, hung over, at about 8:30 a.m. I was so damn happy. As soon as I remembered the game from the night before, a huge smile that didn’t leave my face for a week spread from ear to ear. I started writing and JabberNittany was the result.
Just a few months ago another post meant a lot to me due to the fact that it signified the growth that we have had at BSD in the hockey coverage. Two years ago it was rare to have more than 500 people read a hockey article on a given day, during hockey season. A post in which I discussed the status of Big Ten hockey and how it fits into the rest of the NCAA hockey world got 10,000 reads in one day. And then tens of thousands of reads in the following days. And this was in the summertime! It was a first for BSD hockey coverage and indicates that the hard work is paying off. Our hockey fanbase here at BSD is growing alongside that of the team.
Assistant editor Eli Moreta-Feliz became a staff member at BSD thirteen months ago. A quick study, he interviewed Penn State legend LaVar Arrington just prior to the start of last football season. It was a pretty bold move considering Eli didn’t start watching football until the same year Arrington played his last meaningful snaps in the NFL. Also, English isn’t Eli’s first language, so there’s that. Imagine going to a Spanish-speaking country and interviewing a soccer legend that retired ten years prior, who you never watched play the game, to be published in a venue with attentive, knowledgeable fans.
Many people don’t know this, but Tim Aydin is only twelve years old. Sometimes it shows in his work, as it did three years ago during his recap of the Penn State 93-67 victory versus Longwood. Had Longwood managed two more points, who knows what could have happened? Probably a pun-nado, which is even more dangerous than its shark equivalent.
At the start of last season Tim helped us all get ready for the challenges of being a Penn State basketball fan. This season it should be a little easier than it has been in the recent past to be an openly optimistic PSU hoops advocate.
Managing editor Cari Greene joined the BSD as a staff member in 2012. Last May she sat down with Sandy Barbour to discuss some of her favorite topics, including drinking beer.
Cari recapped the football win on the road in Madison, Wisconsin in 2013. The win was as surprising as it was fulfilling to close out a successful 7-5 campaign. Cari represented the thoughts that so many of us were thinking at the time.
In October of 2012 it was revealed that sangria was the cause of this drunken post, in honor of founding father Mike Hubbell.
Her first Mauti-centric post took place just a few weeks into the first football season that she wrote for Black Shoe Diaries. It seems like September of 2012 was four lifetimes ago, not four football seasons.
Future All-time Greats
Three of the major Penn State sports are poised for success in the near future. Football, basketball, and hockey are just now getting to the point of having enough talent to fight a fair fight in the Big Ten. Wrestling and women’s volleyball are hungry after getting knocked out of the top spot and have the talent to do something about it. The Black Shoe Diaries is in a similar position. With the recent additions, our team has never been so talented. We are firing on all cylinders and are poised to report the great things that are sure to come during the upcoming sports season.