stadium final

I can’t take credit for my title. I watched the first quarter of the game while I stood around waiting for new-to-me car paperwork. A salesman joined me now and then and we discussed the discouraging scene. When we faked the punt he turned to me and said, “We’re the Bad News Bears…no, the Bad News Lions!” Nice.

The rest of the game I kept thinking about that comment. Kickoff return for a touchdown.  Nope, stepped out at the 5. Bad News Lions. Next play’s a touchdown but the extra point is blocked. Bad News Lions. Indiana flubs their onsides kick but oh, we called a timeout. Bad News Lions.

Truthfully we don’t really have much in common with the Bad News Bears. Thank goodness. Unlike those unlucky Bears, our Lions came away with a win. If there wasn’t so much tension coming off the last two losses, I’d want to laugh. I’m sure I’d feel differently if we’d lost this one too. Considering we pulled off the win, some of the mistakes were almost comical.

I even found Coach Franklin’s post-game conference kind of funny. Shades of Joe Paterno telling the reporter: what do you want me to say? I already answered your question. You may not like the answer but that’s the answer.

Back in the Paterno era, the saying among the team along the sidelines was, “Keep hustling. Something good will happen.” They may say other things to each other these days, but that’s just what our team did. They kept hustling and plenty of good things happened.

The defense had six sacks. We got to see Tommy Stevens again for a TD pass. McSorley surpassed 10,000 yards of offense. Juwan Johnson now has over 1,000 receiving yards. Special teams produced a 58-yard and a 94-yard kickoff return. They also forced two fumbles and recovered. That’s all good news. It wasn’t the prettiest win but we hustled and finished the game. I’ll take it.

Somebody called me out a little last week saying that if I was 100% honest we’d all be more excited if we were undefeated and making a run for the playoffs. I guess I have to admit it’s at least partially true for me as well. Of course, I wanted our team to light up every opponent as we blazed through the season to the national championship. We all did. There’s a certain terrifying excitement that goes along with being undefeated and highly ranked. It’s an anticipation that’s equal parts trepidation and exuberance. With two losses, we lose that experience, too.

This win against Indiana puts us back on track. Maybe not with as much exuberance but also with not as much trepidation. There’s some freedom to relax and enjoy each game now, without our nerves to overshadow our enthusiasm. It’s not the same kind of excitement but it’s exciting nonetheless.

I’m certainly excited to see what these next three big games hold. Up first is Iowa, Iowa, Iowa. Let’s go PSU!

Dawn graduated from Penn State in 2002. As a student, she never missed a football game. She camped out for front row seats before it was cool and danced in Thon. She currently lives outside of Philadelphia. She enjoys teaching, yoga, and being a new mom.

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