Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Penn State Fan, A Peek Into Your New World

Hello Penn State fan. Let me give you a brief tour of your new world as a fan.

Hopefully you are entering the Acceptance phase of the news that your football program has been put in an induced coma. That will make things easier. It's going to be a struggle for a while. You are going to have to reset your view of the world for a few years until the numbers come back to even and you get some momentum back.

The good news- you have massive infrastructure. Stadiums that hold 100K+ are pretty rare. That's a nice revenue-generating asset to have in your pocket. You have a large fan base that is willing to buy tickets. When the time is right for the bandwagon to get crowded again, you will be flush with cash.

You already know most of the bad. It will be a tough sell to get four and five star recruits to come in for awhile. You will have to do more with less. Start by bringing in tough kids who want to play with a chip on their shoulders, for whom knocking off an Ohio State or Michigan once in a while will be enough of a reward. That's the kind of thing you will need to sell.

Little secret- those kind of players are fun to root for. Seeing kids outwork and outhustle the five-star recruits is a hoot. When they beat a team with a talent advantage, you will celebrate like you've never celebrated before. Because for a while it will be different.

You will now be happy after every single win, no matter how lowly the opponent. It will be a long time before you are relieved you didn't lose. Admit it- you felt that way at least four times a season. "Good thing we didn't lose to THAT team!"

Here's another bit of good news- you are about to find out who the real fans are, and who were going to games for the good time. The next few years will be the attendance nadir for Penn State, but you can look around and see who is in it for better or worse.

This might be hard, but reset yourself mentally. Prepare to go 0-12 this year. If you end up 4-8 with some close losses, the season will feel like a success. That is your new reality. Someday you will be able to say "I was a fan in '12 when nobody else would be."

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