Penn State football fans get ultimate game-day experience

bmilazzo@centredaily.comJuly 20, 2013 

— Diehard Nittany Lion fans Pat Schuster and her son Bryan Schuster, both of Reading, were not going to miss the opportunity Saturday to be a part of a “once in a lifetime” tour of the football facilities, even if that meant driving three hours to get to their alma mater.

On Saturday, the Penn State All-Sports Museum hosted its inaugural Blue Bus Tour — a tour that brings guests through a day in the life of a football player.

“It’s a unique experience that allows them to follow the path of football players and get the game day experience,” said museum Director Ken Hickman.

Hickman said the 70 guests were able to ride the same blue buses the Penn State football team rides, tour Lasch Building step-by-step the way the football team does on game day from weight room, team meeting room and practice field routines, and head to the locker room, football field and press box at Beaver Stadium.

There was even a question and answer session with Kirk Diehl, director of football operations.

“This football team is the foundation of this university and this community, and I’m glad we had the opportunity to be a part of the event today,” Pat Schuster said. “It’s a once in a lifetime thing we couldn’t miss.”

In 35 years, Penn State alumna Pat Schuster said she only missed half a dozen home football games. Bryan Schuster, a 2007 graduate said he has been a Nittany Lion season ticket holder since he was 6 months old.

“We’re a Penn State family; it’s just in our blood,” Pat Schuster said.

During a tour of the locker room, Pat Schuster said she tried on an official game day helmet; Bryan Schuster said the locker room was his favorite part of the tour.

“This was my first time ever getting a tour here, and it’s really neat being in the same locker room as these guys,” Bryan Schuster said. “It’s just a really incredible experience.”

At $60 a person, Hickman said each participants also received a reusable water bottle in addition to the tour. All money, he said, goes toward museum programs.

Hickman said throughout the year, the museum offers 90-minute tours of the stadium, but Blue Bus Tours will be more rare. He said he hopes to have an additional two more Blue Bus Tours within the next year — one in December and another May — but has to work around the building and football team’s schedule.

“We’re planning some tentative dates,” Hickman said. “It got a great response this year; the tour was sold out within 10 days, but there is a lot of planning and working around schedules to operate these kind of events.”

The next stadium tours will be held Oct 4-6.

For more information about general stadium tours and Blue Bus Tours, visit www.gopsusports.com/museum.

Britney Milazzo can be reached at 231-4648. Follow her on Twitter @M11azzo.

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