Saturday Night PSU Can Show Ohio State and The World Who WE ARE…
Penn State fans have always believed in a higher standard, in a pride in yelling WE ARE.. Certainly there is a small segment who may act like jerks, but in the years I’ve traveled the country the feedback about Penn State fans has been overwhelmingly positive.
This weekend against Ohio State is a chance to make a statement about what "WE ARE" means, “WE” being inclusive of every student, alum and fan.
The offseason has been a difficult one at Ohio State, and the investigation is done and the suspensions are served. Yet in the minds of many who are not Ohio State fans, it is anything but over. It is fodder for T-shirts, or signs or hashtags, or things that are posted on social media or yelled at the coaches, fans or team.
When Penn State had its season opener a few weeks ago, a couple of people showed me their “Urban Liar” t-shirts. Without hesitation I replied that the shirts stunk. Then I asked how much of the money from those T-shirts was going to increase prevention of domestic violence?
So as we look to what will happen Saturday, how will Penn Staters be remembered? As Urban Meyer and his team come into the stadium the easy thing to do would be to hurl insults related to the offseason turmoil at Ohio State fans, Coach Meyer and the players.
It’s easy to understand why. We live in a world where many small-minded people value talking smack or shouting down opposition on social media as an accomplishment. Yelling fact-less insults at a fan or coach or a player with ill intent has no value to our society.
Penn State fans who went to places like Rutgers, Maryland and Pitt will tell you what they heard yelled at those places: “Ped State” or “Child Rapists.” They know what classless crap it all was.
So do you sink to their level or do you aspire to be better? Will you act like the people at other schools or will you show what WE ARE really means? Will you be any better for trolling the same false things back at Ohio State that were yelled at you?
Go ahead and yell “Urban Liar” at an Ohio State fan and they may yell “Joe Knew” back. And both of them only perpetuate false narratives. And who wins when you perpetuate untruths?
Better than most, Penn State fans know the weight Ohio State is carrying right now and how much media coverage gets wrong. They should know that there was no cover up here or there. They should know what it’s like to go other places and have people say things to you that are not true.
But there’s another reason to take the high road, to support your team rather than denigrate theirs.
Saturday night pour every ounce of your energy into rooting like hell for Penn State. Use your voices not to insult but to be so loud it is difficult for them to communicate at the line of scrimmage. Be true Penn Staters by keeping it loud and keeping it classy.
When you say “WE ARE Penn State” what will Ohio State walk away thinking that means?
Sunday morning you want Ohio State fans and players to talk about the great environment, fans and above all what a great Penn State football team they just played. Don’t take away from what these players will do Saturday night. You want the post-game stories to focus on the players, the game’s electric moments and the back-and-forth that draws us to the athletic competition in college football.
If you are to live up to the ideals established by generations of players, coaches and fans then show the class and the values that built “Success with Honor.”
I’ve been in the shoes of the Ohio State guys. We went on the road to Ohio State in 2011, the first road game after our coach was unjustly fired because of a false narrative. Exiting the team bus there were Ohio State fans waiting for us. When we went on the field for pre-game warm-ups and for the game there were Ohio State fans there. Everything they said or yelled to me was supportive.
It was an unforgettable emotional day in coaching as much for their fans as for our win.
This Saturday night expect Penn State players on the field to elevate their game. Will you as fans do the same?
You can win on the field and in the stands. Be the kind of fans that these players, and generations of players and coaches before them can be proud of. Above all remember this when Beaver Stadium rocks to its foundations when you yell “WE ARE”….