Saturday, 9 March 2019
There are 7 days a year that I absolutely love. Those are the seven home games that Penn State plays football in State College, PA. I've been going to these games since I was in college, and its just been a routine for me and my family for many years. I try not to miss a game if possible.
Going to a game in Happy Valley is special. The atmosphere is as good as it gets in college football. State College, PA is right in the center of the state of Pennsylvania, and as you descend into town, it feels like everyone in the state is arriving there with you. You certainly feel that way when you arrive in the parking lots and see the RVs and tailgaters as far as the eye can see.
My routine starts early in the morning as I get myself and my family dressed in PSU apparel. For me, I never attend PSU football games without wearing my luck Penn State jersey. Since I like to sit in or near the student section, and they have a scr888 online tradition of wearing white for the Penn State "White Out" effect, I have a white Penn State football jersey. My wife has a Penn State ladies jersey and my kids have Penn State youth jerseys.
However the gear doesn't stop with jerseys, as there is plenty more. If it's cold, we may layer up with a Penn State sweatshirt as well. A fleece one is perfect if it's a cold late in the season game. White, blue, or gray Penn State sweatshirts are fine too, I have all of them in my wardrobe. My family and I also have PSU hats, t-shirts, and jackets, so whatever PSU gear is needed for that day's condition, we have.
Next, we load up the car with tailgating gear. The most important items are the basic: chairs, grill, coolers, food, and beverages. I have a PSU Chair that I've had forever that I bring to everygame, and I use it extensive before and after games. We have about a 2 hour drive to State College, so we usually leave about 6-7 hours before kick-off.
We've had the same parking spot in State College for many years, and it's where we tailgate with our fellow PSU fans. We like to get there early set up the grill, tables, chairs, and some games (we love to play corn hole). Luckily, we have fellow tailgaters with a portable satellite dish and TVs so that we can watch all the afternoon college football action (especially Big 10 games) while preparing for the big game.
The most important part of tailgating is socializing with friends, but food preparation and consumption is important as well. We fire up the grill early and keep it going all day. Usually multiple types of meat get thrown on, personally I like any type of red meat to go with my adult beverage during tailgating. Don't forget to have plenty of ice and mixers.
Tailgating is fun, but I always remind everyone that the main reason we are there is for the game. I like to be in Beaver Stadium 20 minutes before kick-off. This allows me to soak in all the pre-game festivities, like the teams running out on the field, Joe Paterno's entrance, and the incredible sound of 100,000 fans screaming "Let's Go....Penn State".
These are my favorite 7 days of the year.