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Midweek Musings - There are Many Ways to be a Fan

What does fandom mean to you?

Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

For many fans of Penn State football, this season hasn’t gone quite as expected.

I, for one, predicted that Penn State would make the playoffs. I was wrong.

Most people I knew were predicting anywhere from 10-2 to 8-4. And yet, sitting at 8-3 with one game to go, there are a great many people upset by the way the season has played out. Why?

Are these people bad fans? Hardly. Are they spoiled and entitled? Nope.

I’ll put myself in this boat, as I am pretty disappointed in the season to date. Why am I disappointed? It’s not the wins and losses, as there’s still a good chance at double digit wins for a third season in a row, a feat not accomplished since the 1980s.

It’s not that this was most likely always going to be a rebuilding year - you don’t lose your entire defense, a generational running back, a freak tight end, a record-holding receiver, and a trend-setting offensive coordinator and keep on humming.

It’s that I believe, deep down, that this team could have done so much better.

Their first two losses were by a combined five points. They could have won either one (or both) of those games, and have been in the running for the playoffs - as I predicted. Given just how mental this team seems to be at times, I think winning either one (or both) of those games results in a much different game in Ann Arbor a few weeks ago.

That’s ultimately what’s been frustrating to me. They were thisclose to realizing the season I had predicted.

As the season has gone on, we’ve had some ups and downs. We’ve looked at how fun Penn State can be. We’ve also looked at how being ambivalent is a-okay as well.

Ultimately, however you feel as a fan is exactly how you should feel.

Super excited that the team can still make a New Year’s Six bowl? Good for you!

Disappointed that they need help to get there! No worries!

Trying to run James Franklin out of town? Well, first of all stop it, and second of all you may just get your wish.

But regardless, there are many ways to be a fan. Go ahead and be a fan however you want - there’s no one right way to cheer for Penn State!