We are Penn State, and we are so many things because of that.
We are proud. We are loyal. We are committed. We are strong.
And, on Saturday, we will be blue.
The Michigan State game, the final home game of the season, will be our blue-out.
The white-out games seem as though they have been part of Penn State’s football season tradition forever. In reality, the practice dates back just 10 years, to a student-section showing in the 2004 game against Purdue.
In a decade, it’s become something that everyone participates in enthusiastically, drenching the stadium in an avalanche of white shirts, a visible sign to the opposition that Penn State students, alumni, fans and family all stand together. Win or lose (we would prefer to win), we are a unit.
The blue-out is even newer, dating to the dark days after Jerry Sandusky’s arrest. The Nov. 12, 2011, football game became the way that the Penn State faithful stepped up to mourn for the victims. It is blue not because it is the other school color, but because that is the color associated with child abuse prevention.
Since then, it has become more than a demonstration. It is not a gesture. It is the largest fundraising event for One Heart, the student group dedicated to educating people about child sex abuse. It funds things held throughout the year, such as Stewards of Children training.
This year’s theme is “Teaching Today, Protecting Tomorrow.” That is the goal, too, to stop abuse by shining light on it.
Someday, the blue will not be for tears because blue isn’t just a color of sadness. It’s also about blue ribbons and victories. We can get there, together, as one team.
Because we are.