Thanksgiving is here. This is our time to visit with family, eat too much, and watch the Peanuts Thanksgiving special and the Macy’s Parade. For many of us there is something else this week – rivalry week in college football.
This weekend my Indiana Hoosiers will be taking on our rivals the Purdue Boilermakers. Like many houses in America I am from a house divided. My dad is a proud Boilermaker and I am a proud Hoosier. This game takes on an extra element of energy when it hits a house divided. Sure, we might send jokes back and forth and maybe even say “may the best team win”, but we are both pulling or our team. This year the game takes on extra importance as whoever wins this game also becomes bowl-eligible.
I am also a Penn State grad, and though we are not playing a traditional rival, one of our newly-minted rivals, Ohio State is playing their arch rival in the legendary OSU vs. Michigan game. As a Penn Stater I will be rooting for Michigan to beat OSU in this annual rivalry.
From the end of August through to this last weekend in November we plan our Saturdays around college football games. Errands are run on a Friday or early Saturday morning. Game time will find us on our lanai watching the game, cheering and tailgating. If we are not at home, we are likely in Disney, and we can be found at ESPN Zone on Disney’s Boardwalk watching the game. Even after our unexpected two-day drive home from Grand Rapids we were able to catch the end of the PSU vs. Ohio State game over dinner (the result is the reason why I am a Michigan fan this weekend). We didn’t even let salmonella interrupt our football watching.
A couple of years ago I was questioned by a relative about how I can be a fan of something that is nothing more than a corporation (in their eyes) and not a fan of something more organic. I found it ironic that as this person asked me this question they were holding a copy of Oprah’s magazine. I doubt the Oprah brand is any less corporate or more organic than a university. But, I do have a polite answer to this bizarre question.
There is something that happens to you at certain colleges. As you complete your education you grow to love the school – the campus, the associated memories, the friendships it provided, the opportunities it creates, and of course the education. Believe me I was a tried and true 100% Hoosier when I enrolled at PSU. I never thought I would become the 100% PSU fan I am today. But over the four years I was at PSU I made friends, learned, grew, and somewhere along the way became a tried and true PSU fan. So much so, I found myself representing my campus on All Campus Day during a half time event in Beaver Stadium recognizing all of the PSU campuses. Then at the conclusion of my graduation I proudly answered “Penn State” when our Dean closed the ceremony with a “We Are”.
I wish all of you a safe and Happy Thanksgiving and may the best team (Indiana) win.