I’m not a football person. I never have been, which is kind of strange for someone who was born and raised in Steeler country. I just always found it boring. I found most sports boring, actually, and hockey is the one exception, but that’s a story for another day.

I went to the occasional football game at my high school, and that was about it. When we took a group State College trip last spring, I think it was, a game was on the itinerary, but Paul and I opted out and just hung out and did our own thing instead until the game was over and we met up with everyone for dinner and drinks.

I didn’t feel right skipping it this time–the whole trip was for Katie’s bachelorette weekend, and she wanted a tailgate and football game, so that was what we were gonna do, whether I liked it or not. The fact that it was the only real football game I’d ever been to became kind of a running joke, as did Nelson using hockey terms to explain the game to me. I mean, I understand the basics, of course, but not the details. Funnily enough, Nelson’s explanations actually made a ton of sense to me, although I didn’t retain a single one of them. I was also wearing a Penguins shirt.

I also had a fun time yelling generic things like, “Yay, sports!” and “Football!” I was basically this:


Now, Paul at least enjoys football when it’s right in front of him. I was actually kind of enjoying it at first, but I got bored pretty quickly. If anyone had any hope this would turn me into a football fan, no dice. The reason I love hockey is because it’s generally fast-paced, whereas the stop-and-go nature of football bores me. I will say, though, that Penn State’s stadium is pretty impressive in size. I’ve been in Pittsburgh’s Heinz Field for the Winter Classic when we hosted it, and I could immediately tell Beaver Stadium was bigger. The atmosphere was pretty cool, too. I may not be into football at all, but I do love being in a crowd of people that’s just having a great time.

On top of that, Penn State chose this game to honor Joe Paterno. Now, when the Sandusky abuse scandal first broke, Paul was in his senior year–I remember Meri texting me the night of the riots, worried in case he was out, but of course I’m with an introvert who had long been home. Since he was there, I spent a good bit of time up there, too, usually going up for a weekend once a month or so throughout that summer, when he graduated. And atmosphere was strange, to be honest. I remember State College as a whole showing overwhelming support for Paterno, which I thought was odd at best and careless at worst. Storefronts were plastered with Paterno shirts and signs. It was like there was a total unwillingness to acknowledge that he had known about the abuse long before it was made public, which I felt was a slap in the face to all of the victims, especially if any happened to be in the area still. I can’t imagine how it must feel to learn that a man knew what someone was doing to you and that he was being defended by the community because of a sport. The presentations at the game felt like I continuation of that. I’ll grant that it’s a grey area. I may know very little about football, but I know what he did for the school, as well as the community. But that doesn’t change the role he played in the Sandusky scandal, and I don’t thinks it’s right to gloss over it. There are ways to acknowledge these things and still acknowledge professional accomplishments.

So for my part, when people stood to applaud him, I didn’t. Neither did Brandon or Paul, as well as some other people here or there, though it’s hard to say if everyone was doing it as a sort of protest or if it’s just one of those things where some people stand and some people don’t. The opposing team, Temple, apparently got some attention for turning their backs, which I somehow missed, despite their section being pretty close to ours. I did notice their big sign, however, that said, “He turned his back, so we’ll turn ours.”

I did like the tailgate, though, even if traffic and Paul’s tendency to not know where he’s going despite being sure of where he’s going got us there two hours behind schedule. Also, we have a new joke that I can’t get drunk anymore–in the sense that large amounts of alcohol aren’t doing anything to me lately. It happened at Brandon’s wedding, which I dismissed as being spread out over the course of the night, but at the tailgate and in the evening later, multiple drinks and multiple Jell-O shots in a short timespan didn’t hit me at all.

By the end of it all, we’d done a tone of walking, from walking from where we were parked to the tailgate and back, including Paul taking us the wrong way. Paul and I walk pretty regularly–on weekends, we’ve gotten up to four miles at a time–and I could tell by the way my body felt that we’d definitely surpassed that. According to my phone, we were pushing six miles for the day by the time we got back to the car.

Brandon and Kelly headed out of town to meet up with my dad in Gettysburg for the annual World War II weekend we usually go to, but Paul and I opted to skip it–while going was totally doable and it wouldn’t have been a far drive to go and spend Saturday night into Sunday, and I didn’t want to feel rushed in the evening or miss out on other festivities. So after they went there way, I took a nap, and although I could’ve sworn I never fell asleep, next thing I know Paul’s waking me up so I can shower to go to dinner.

The nap and hot shower did me good. The walk had me aching all over, and I felt immensely better afterward. Much of our group was meeting at The Greek next to our motel for dinner, so I had Katie shoot me a text when they got there and we enjoyed a delicious meal of Greek food. Katie’s friends were fun to talk to, as well. I knew a couple already, but we all had a good time hanging out.

The original plan was to do a bar crawl, and I was kind of relieved when Katie said the’d changed it to staying in. Initially, it was going to be at her friend’s apartment, but that got shifted to our hotel room. This also meant her brother, who’s still underage, could be included. I just wanted to hit Zeno’s for one drink, even if it was at the end of the night, but Katie wanted to, too, so we headed there after dinner, and then broke up into a smaller group for drinking and Cards Against Humanity in our room.

It was probably one of the most low-key bachelorette parties in history, but it was a lot of fun and really suited the group, which is always important. Katie’s not the type to want penis paraphernalia everywhere, and some of her friends aren’t the bar-hopping type, so an evening in seemed to work best. Everyone got to see her and spend some time with her,  and she got to do what she wanted to do before the wedding in just over two weeks. And that’s ridiculous that it’s come so soon.


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