Our friend Janelle checks in with a unique perspective on the school in Happy Valley.
I hate Penn State.
No, really, I loathe Penn State.
Now, when I tell people this these days, I’ll get responses telling me to have a heart and to have some sympathy for what they’ve been going through the past nine months.
They don’t realize that I grew up in Penn State territory, about an hour and a half away from State College. My dad is a Penn State fan. My grandparents are Penn State fans. My brother and sister-in-law are Penn State alumni. My mom and I are the lone ones that wear scarlet and gray in a sea of blue and white on football Saturdays in the fall.
As a kid, my dad used to take me to Penn State games to try to convince me to become part of “Nittany Nation.” It never worked. I was destined to be part of Buckeye Nation from day one. But I never imagined I would end up hating Penn State like I do.
Recently, I’ve spent time trying to find out where exactly my hatred for the Nittany Lions comes from.
It isn’t their players (although players like Moxie McGloin add fuel to the fire). It isn’t the school itself (I mean, it’s a school in the middle of nowhere…and since I go to Ohio State, The Best D&%# School in the Land, all I can do is feel sorry for students who end up in Happy Valley and not in Columbus). Up until recently, it wasn’t the coaching staff (although, even before this Sandusky scandal, I was never a Joe Paterno “fan”…as the rest of the world is finally starting to see, he was held in an almost god-like light by his supporters, and had way too much power over an entire town and even state). It’s not the new coaching staff.
No, my hatred comes from Penn State’s fans. It honestly has to be one of the worst fan bases in the entire country.
When Terrelle Pryor was making his decision about where he was going to play college football, Penn State fans were all excited about the prospect of him in a blue and white uniform. They were convinced that Tom Bradley would convince TP to play for them. When he chose Ohio State, suddenly, their fans were saying things like “he’s not that good,” “we didn’t really want him anyway,” etc.
Then more recently, when they recruited Rob Bolden (who, as we all know has since taken his talents to LSU), they were all excited about him because he was supposedly, according to some Penn State fans I know, Michael Robinson Part II. As they found that he was not even close to being M-Rob, they quickly threw him under the bus.
Now, I’m not saying that Penn State’s fan base is the only one that practices these behaviors, but they certainly have mastered them.
Worse than those types of behaviors was the extreme arrogance that existed among them before the recent events transpired. When Ohio State went through its NCAA issues in 2011, Penn State fans were quick to point fingers and laugh at Buckeye Nation. They were quick to take shots at our players and Jim Tressel. I even remember the “Liars” and “Legends” t-shirt made with Tressel’s vest on the back and Joe Pa’s glasses on the front. Many of them were also pleased to see a 6-6 season last year and a bow ban given to us by the NCAA for the coming year.
The “it would never happen here” high horse attitude was worse than ever, and I was living right in the thick of it. Throughout Central PA, I would get chastised for wearing my Ohio State gear. They’d question why I wasn’t embarrassed to wear it because of what had happened. I chose to keep quiet. I knew we’d get back on track in short order, and as I write this, I’m smiling thinking of how great the Buckeyes are going to be under the direction of Urban Meyer.
Anyways, back to the Penn State fans…they’re some of the worst I’ve seen, and I’d be lying if I didn’t say that seeing them get a serving of humble pie lately hasn’t given me a small bit of satisfaction inside. And I’d also be lying if I said that the fact that they’re probably headed for a less than impressive football season isn’t giving me a little bit of joy as well. Sue me. I dealt with jibes from family members who love Penn State over what happened to Ohio State all of last year and even into this year somewhat. It is their turn to deal with some down time for their team.
The difference is I’m just going to sit back, sip my tea, and watch them go through this instead of shoving it in their face as they did to me. Yes, I’m sure there will be days where I might feel sorry for them, but not enough to make me stop hating them.
And definitely not enough for me not to want the Buckeyes to absolutely obliterate them when the time comes for us to play them this season.