The Tide Rolls into Happy Valley
Got a great email this morning from Janice Fink, our counterpart at the University of Alabama alumni magazine, who was incredibly helpful last year when we were looking for some guidance on things to see and do in Tuscaloosa. Janice is a central Pennsylvania native who used to work at Penn State, leaving her with happily mixed loyalties in the football rivalry that renews Saturday at Beaver Stadium. Here’s what Janice wrote:
Wishing everybody in Happy Valley an exciting football weekend! I can’t be there in person, but many, many of my friends and co-workers are on their way—sure hope they make it through the floods. It’s hard to describe the level of excitement leading up to our visit to Joe’s House. When he stepped onto our field last year, the roar from the crowd was the loudest I’ve ever heard. As you might remember, I’m from central Pa. and worked for Penn State in marketing for a couple of years. Who do I cheer for? Well to attend last year’s game I sewed together a two-sided jersey combining a UA shirt with a PSU one, carefully configured so that it reads “Pennbama.” Although I’ll only be joining y’all via the airwaves this year, I’ll be rooting for everybody on the field, wearing my crimson and blue. :)
The loyalties of most of us watching Saturday won’t be so ambiguous, of course, but there remains a pretty impressive sense of mutual respect between the programs. A lot of that comes from the way we were treated last year in Tuscaloosa. As such, it’s been nice to see many Penn Staters go out of their way to ensure ‘Bama fans feel similarly welcomed this week, with the Penn State PRIDE “Northern Hospitality” week and “Don’t Boo Bama” initiative on Facebook generating lots of interest.
Not that we want them feeling particularly welcome once the game starts, of course. With that in mind, the Paternoville kids have been camped out since Sunday, meaning they and their tents have endured about eight inches of rain. From the looks of this video, the rain hasn’t dampened spirits, and the student section should be ready to do its part Saturday afternoon. Will a passionate crowd and an inspired effort by the Nittany Lions be enough to knock off the No. 2 team in the country? It would be the program’s biggest home win in years, and Mike Poorman ’82 wonders just how big of a deal that might be. Here’s hoping we get to find out.
Ryan Jones, senior editor