In high school, it was normal to not go to football games, dread the pep rallies, and not wear school attire. My school had negative spirit. Our football team was one of the worst in the counties and only made it to playoffs once in ten years. Going to Eastport South Manor High School was an incredibly small fraction of my identity growing up.
Needless to say, going to a school like Penn State has been quite an adjustment. My first year at Penn State I didn’t buy season tickets due to not being available at the time they went on sale. My first semester was very difficult and soon realized that I was most productive when everyone was at the football games so I never went to a game. Within my friends, about half didn’t go to the games and half did. I didn’t really try in the realm of school spirit. The only school attire I owned was shirts from organizations or groups and nothing directly Penn State. The only big Penn State event I went to (besides convocation) was a men’s volleyball game in the spring with my mom when she came to visit. In all honesty, part of me definitely resented the fact that Penn State’s excessive emphasis and funding could be used for more important sources such as funding research on campus or scholarships for underprivileged students.
This year I decided to step out of my comfort zone and buy season tickets. The first Saturday I went tailgating and had fun. I was able to catch up with many of my friends from last year and not have to think about classes. Unfortunately I was unable to fully attend the game because my friend fell and she had to be taken to the ER (non-alcoholic accident).
Last week I finally attended my first game. Although I went to most of the football games in my high school (I was in marching band) this was an atmosphere I have never experienced before. The entire stadium was alive with school spirit, everyone was vibrantly singing the alma mater and all of the cheers with as much pride as they can muster.
This was a totally new experience for me but I can’t say I hated it and honestly I’m excited to wear white to the game this weekend.