About one week ago, Ian bought Penn State football tickets after hearing the rumor that it was going to be Joepa's last home game.
Later that day, all hell broke loose.
I didn't hop on the blog bandwagon during those days of scandal hype last week, because as I read everybody and anybody's opinion on the matter, I found that there was really nothing new to say. Despite what side you were on about the administration drama--should Joe Paterno have been fired? Did he do the right thing? Why was Sandusky allowed to continue having access to PSU campus and young children? --I think everyone can agree that the horrific events of one man shook a town where bad things just don't happen. I consider myself incredibly lucky to have grown up in Happy Valley, where the worst headlines usually involve underage drinking, small robberies, or kids breaking into abandoned farmhouses. Never could anyone have ever imagined a State College icon, one who I went to church with when I was a kid, no less, could have been capable of causing this nightmare unfold that Ian and I watched all over the news.
Like every Penn State alumni, I found myself angry, confused, and disgusted over the whole mess, almost to the point where I didn't want to drive our car with the WE ARE PENN STATE sticker on the back. However, being a State College native added a whole new level to the situation--despite the university's size, people forget that it's a small town. It was surreal sitting in our apartment in Virigina, seeing our town get ripped to shreds with news media and rioting students. That, while only the names involved were the big names you saw on the news, it all affected everyone who lives and works there. Trying to explain this to people who were on the outside looking in, who had only seen and believed what the news had told them, was no easy task.
Which is why, after an absolutely crazy week, I was more excited than ever to drive up to Pennsylvania. To drive up that familiar highway, to my parents house, to be welcomed by the same sights that remain unchanged. We went to the candlelight vigil at Old Main on Friday night, which despite my usual lack of school spirit, gave me chills to see the lawn filled with others who were heartbroken by what has happened. Seeing that, even though the media made the town look to be completely destroyed, everything still had pretty much remained the same. Going to church on Sunday and praying for the victims, surrounded by my family and closest friends.
It was hard to leave, but I came back to our new home in Virginia feeling refreshed and confident that my little home town is going to pull through.