Message to the Penn State Football Fans at Beaver Stadium
To the fans who watched the Penn State Football Team’s thrilling overtime victory yesterday, I want to say thank you! You all were awesome. You were loud until the very end and the standing ovation you gave the Mountaineers as they left the field is the very definition of class. The purpose of this article is not about you however, the purpose of this article is for those who left early.
The announced attendance for yesterday’s game, at Beaver Stadium, was 105,232 which is an impressive number for any game, but spectacular for an opening day crowd. It’s the largest opening day crowd I have witnessed in the 6 years I have been a season ticket holder.
However, the number of people who actually watched Amani Oruwariye’s game-sealing interception that gave the Nittany Lions a victory was closer to eighty thousand then one hundred thousand. Why?
Leaving In Droves
I noticed three specific instances where fans headed to the exit in mass quantity. Half Time, 2:41 left in the third quarter, and 1:47 left in the fourth quarter.
This one confuses me the most. You waited all spring and summer in anticipation of opening day, the weather was almost perfect, especially for a Labor Day Weekend game when the sun is normally so hot inside the stadium you have no choice but to pay 4 dollars for a bottle of water. Yesterday, that was not the case at all. Outside of a few minutes when the sun poked through the fog and clouds it was a cool and dry day.
Penn State was debuting a number of new players and this game, as opening day games usually do, allowed a good chance to get to see those players for the first time. Yesterday was no exception with several Redshirt and True Freshman, not only seeing the field but making an immediate impact.
So why with the score tied at 10-10 would fans leave the stadium?
2:41 in the Third Quarter
This one I can almost excuse. True Freshman running back Ricky Slade had just burst through the middle of the line and scampered 27 yards for a touchdown to make the score 24-10 Penn State. For many in the crowd, myself included, the blowout was on. I may have even considered leaving at this point except for one thing. My wife does not permit me to leave early during a game, no matter what the score. It’s a family rule and we stick to it. Even though she was not in attendance at yesterday’s game, I could almost hear her voice whispering in my ear… “We don’t leave games early!” I would honor those words. Happy wife, happy life!
Wait a second, we may want to go back to our seats!
Less than 5 minutes later Malik Williams scored on a 17-yard pass from Zac Thomas that brought the Mountaineers to within 7 at 24-17. Less than 5 minutes. So, before most of the people were at the exit gate, the game was close again. I guess the commitment to leave had already been made and nothing could persuade fans to come back to their seat.
1:47 in the Fourth Quarter
When Jalin Moore broke several tackles to score on a 16-yard run to give the Appalachian State Mountaineers a 7-point lead (after the extra point) a mass exodus that rivalled the Hebrews, led by Moses, out of Egypt occurred at Beaver Stadium. The entire row in front of me vanished in the blink of an eye. I turned to speak to the couple next to me, who I had gotten to know during the course of the game, and they were gone without even a goodbye. Before I know it, the cramped confines, that are the Beaver Stadium Seats, became lounge-worthy as the remaining fans spread their legs out to the newly opened areas in front of them.
Look, I have been here before. The team goes down to an opponent that Penn State was favored to beat easily, and anger sets in. That excitement that had been building all summer suddenly turns to anger. You see that top 10 ranking slipping away and it is easier to turn away from the carnage than witness it. For all intents and purposes, the Penn State Football season was about to be over in the first game of the season. We would never make the playoffs now. These are all things that have entered my mind during my many years as a Penn State Football fan and I am sure those thoughts were on many of the fans who exited the stadium yesterday at this point in the game.
In Trace We Trust
I felt a strange confidence yesterday and told my niece, who was attending her first Penn State game, two things. The first, if Penn State lost she would never be allowed to come to a game again. I mean come on, superstitions and all! The second thing I told her was in a less joking manner. I told her that Penn State would tie the game here and win it in overtime. Why was I so confident? Trace McSorley! In a finish similar to Iowa of last season McSorley drove the Lions downfield, completed a pass for a fourth down conversion and then proceeds to throw a missile to wide receiver KJ Hamler for a 15-yard touchdown to tie the game at 38-38.
Penn State would go on to win the game in overtime and my niece was maybe the most thankful fan of all. She had witnessed an amazingly action-packed first game and more importantly, she would be allowed to attend another one in the future. For many fans, they were not so lucky. They, shamefully, did not stay to the end to cheer on their beloved Penn State Nittany Lion Football team when they needed them the most. Now, I am sure at the water coolers next week every one of those 105,232 people will have “stayed until the end” but those of us who did know better. We witnessed what is arguably one of the best finishes at Beaver Stadium on opening day in the last decade. For those of you who left early… Shame on you. Our players deserve better. They played until the end, so you should have stayed until the end. Watching Amani Oruwariye’s game-sealing interception live, and being a part of the celebration that ensued is a memory I won’t soon forget. For those of you who left, you will just have to pretend you were there.
Why Leave A Game Early?
So, my question to the fans who left early is this. Why? Do you same people go to the movies and leave 20 minutes before the film has completed? Do you have that much disposable income that you can spend 60 dollars or more on a ticket, not to mention the 20-60 dollars it takes to park? Would you rather get back to your tailgate and the cold frothy beer that awaits you there? Do you want to beat the traffic? What are your reasons?
Take the poll below and let me know in the comments section below why you leave a game early.
In conclusion, I would just ask this of all of the Penn State Football fans. If you go to the game, stay until the end. Let the last sound you hear as you exit the stadium be the ringing of the victory bell. If you won’t stay to the end, maybe you can donate your tickets to somebody who will.
Win or lose… Our team, our players and our coaches deserve it. We Are!!!