Move over Dallas Cowboys after nineteen disappointing seasons I believe the search for a new team most deserving of America’s support was found in the most unlikeliest of places: Happy Valley, Pennsylvania. A year ago Penn State’s tradition rich football program made national headlines when a decade long cover up of sexual molestation and abuse was finally made known. The stench of an administration who allowed such deplorable acts to occur have been wiped clean through the conviction of the perpetrator and his cohorts; the death of Joe Paterno, and the removal of a statue which reeked with a legacy of disgust and manipulation.
After the NCAA handed down their sanctions ($60 Million, 4-year bowl ban, and loss of 40 scholarship) it marked the beginning of a new era, a fresh start. A number of players who were expected to be solid contributors this season quickly transferred to other programs and expectations for fielding a competitive team did not appear to be likely. Several pundits believed that the sanctions handed down on July 24th would serve as the day that football in Happy Valley died.
However, embodying the resiliency of America, this once proud program which had been left for dead has embodied the toughness of their head coach and continues to be fueled by the encouragement and support of a loyal fan base and community who is also healing from the tragedy of times past.
Although the Nittany Lions are not ranked in the top 25 or a contender for the national championship, each time they win we receive a reminder that the storms of yesterday will not last always and the possibilities for great promise will come in time.
The Nittany Lions are currently on a four game winning streak which is largely due to a tremendous group of senior leaders. On offense the Nittany Lions have made significant strides since losing the first two games of the season and under the advisement of Coach O’Brien it appears that senior quarterback Matt McGloin is finally getting it,so far he has already accounted for 17 touchdowns in only six games.
Although senior starting linebacker and captain Michael Mauti is unlikely to get a statute in front of the stadium for his comments after the Nittany Lions second loss of the season. His words to his teammates and the national media lit a fire that will shine brighter than any Heisman Trophy and have an impact that will continue long after he decides to be finish with this game or when the game decides to be finished with him.
Finishing the season 7-4 appears to be well within the realm of possibility. But if the Nittany Lions were to lose every game left on their schedule at the end of the day the season would still be considered a success. In America resiliency through tough times with the promise of better days is a characteristic that we all embody.
Only when adversity strikes do we find out the true character of an individual, and despite the shadows of a dismal past this 2012 Nittany Lion football team are laying the groundwork for a brighter tomorrow. With each win Coach O’Brien and his players build a new legacy in Happy Valley and its a future that we as individuals strive to achieve, success is not a privilege or a right, will you take it? What will the future hold? Only time will tell. Stay tuned… I know I will – A. Denmark (@eatdrnkslpsprtz)