Two weeks ago I was in State College, PA, home of football powerhouse Penn State University. One of the first things I noticed upon entering my tasteful, blue and white hotel room at the Nittany Inn was the brochure for Football Fantasy Camp 2009. For $4,995, one could spend four days in football/PSU alumni bliss: meet JoePa, get lectures from the coaches, suit up, tread upon the natural grass of Beaver stadium, and then play an exhibition (flag) football game. I can totally see the appeal to forty/fiftysomething men.
Chad pointed out that PSU has more wins this year than Rice, the Seahawks, UW Huskies, and Washington State Cougars combined. (This may not be a fair analogy: Rice‘s record is better than those other three teams combined, too.) Still, the level of enthusiasm is totally foreign to me. While geocaching on a warm Tuesday evening near their ginormous (capacity: 100,000+) stadium. Students were already tent-camping in the open lot, hoping to secure tickets for the next home game:
On the other side of the stadium was a tribute to Joe Paterno’s long, successful career:
Not surprisingly, this rates as virtual geocache. The cache owner wrote me a paragraph educating me on the “bonus” question. That’s enthusiasm.
The following week, I was in Columbus, home of Ohio State. Whereas State College is the university, there was no doubt Columbus was the fifteenth largest city in the U.S. that just happens a large university on the north side that mucks up traffic whenever there’s a home game. They’re mostly harmless. Just don’t park your car there. (For my Texas friends: State College is to College Station as Columbus is to Austin (without any hills.)
Since I was going to be downtown all week, it made sense to ditch my rental car. While I could have just done a blind drop-off, I was hoping to get them to give me a ride back downtown. To pass the hour until they opened, I stopped at a park along the Olentagy river. When I returned, I saw OSU’s welcome wagon had visited:
Nothing was stolen, but I was officially rooting against OSU in The Big Game scheduled that weekend. (State College was no safer after the game.)