Day 26: For Penn State
Penn State isn’t a place you can hear about in the news or on ESPN and understand.
To understand Penn State you need to be in the Bryce Jordan Center as the grand total is revealed at THON after family hour;
you need to hear the story of how “We Are… Penn State” came to be our unifying cheer in a defiant move to play in the 1946 Cotton Bowl with all of our players, regardless of skin color;
you needed to be in the stadium as paralyzed football player, Adam Taliaferro, lead the team onto the field in 2001.
Penn State is a place of hope for many and continues to try to initiate change through action. Both students and alumni were shocked as the terrible news broke over a year ago; but, it wasn’t long before thousands attended a vigil held at the iconic Old Main and over $500,000 was raised for RAINN (Race, Abuse & Insest Nation Network).
Many say that we’re ‘just a football program’ but that wildly underestimates my university. We have a football team. Yes. But they’re much more than football players. They consistently have the highest average GPAs of all other football teams while taking real classes. If they don’t become professional football players, which most don’t, they go on to be lawyers, teachers, engineers, etc and make a difference in society. For example, our buddy Scott Shirley, a former PSU football player, founded and now runs the largest student athlete philanthropy in the world. Uplifting Athletes includes some of the top NCAA schools in the country to raise critical funds for rare diseases (see previous post on Team Jack and Avalanna to get an idea of who this organization is trying to help).
My family is a proud Penn State family because we know Penn State or rather, We ARE Penn State.