Oh my. I feel like I have really abandoned my faithful readers this winter...a season which only now (maybe) is starting to turn to spring at University Park. Although I'm not sure. The weather is particularly nasty for this version of the annual football scrimmage known as the Blue-White game.
I do apologize...it's just that, well, when you're teaching eighteen credits in ONE semester, it's hard to do anything else but prep for classes and grade papers. It's been a tough semester. And the weather hasn't helped one bit!
It is a rather unusual situation, this semester. A colleague left Penn State and there was a course coverage problem that I was asked to fill. So I'm teaching five sections of Marketing Strategy - a writing-intensive course - and one section of an Intro to Marketing lecture course.
The only good news in this situation is that I have two teaching assistants working for me. They have been a godsend. But still...a ton of work for me, especially at the end of the semester. I can't wait for April 28, the last day of classes! One thing I have learned in my life...this too shall pass! And that's very true about teaching on a semester basis. The good news is that my fall teaching schedule is friendly in comparison. And I will work hard to keep it that way for as long as possible.
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So in this winter/spring of being overwhelmed, something had to give, and the "give" was my dedication to writing about Penn State football.
Even this weekend, with Blue-White Weekend underway, it's hard to come up for air. It doesn't help that the Blue-White Weekend has turned into a major community event with no parking. I mean, what's going on?
We used to drive from Easton PA for a Blue-White weekend, and look forward to a great birthday weekend in State College. We never worried about finding a parking space. Now, I am getting daily emails from Penn State about how parking is free, but that parking will be limited, due to the carnival, due to soggy grassy fields that are forcing more parking lot closures.
And as far as I can ascertain, there is no shuttle bus service to the Blue-White game, like there is for fall football games. So it's every fan for him or her self, first come-first serve. When you normally have a reserved parking space, this is not fun.
So, unless you want to leave home at 8 a.m. and hang out until 2 p.m. in the cold, wind, and wet, your chances of finding decent parking at the stadium to watch a scrimmage are slim or none. Two years ago, when we arrived 3 hours before the scrimmage started, we found a grassy lot with a space we could barely squeeze into with a lot of broken glass and more than a few drunken people surrounding us.
When you have tons of work to do, and the weather is exceedingly lousy - right now windy, cold and rainy - it's a lot to ask to put up with that in order to go to a scrimmage. I don't have the time to devote an entire day to this.
So, we are staying home for the second year in a row and will watch it online at gopsusports.com and enjoy the radio coverage and the delayed coverage on the Big Ten Network.
And maybe I will catch up on my schoolwork. At least, that's my goal.
In the meantime, aside from the Blue-White game, the winter has produced some interesting phenomena. For example, the STEP plan is in its implementation phase, and if you believe PSUDoc, a fellow blogger over at The Lion's Den, who has been tracking the upgrades and downgrades of tickets at Beaver Stadium, there may be a lot of very good seats available this coming season at Beaver Stadium. He has taken it upon himself to track availability of tickets by section, and even reading the whole thing can give you a headache...
Personally, our situation with STEP has been advantageous for us. Our ticket situation has actually improved without paying any more in an annual donation. But I also believe we were very very lucky. "There but for fortune" is the mantra I sing to myself. There are folks who were fortunate enough to have great seats who can't afford to keep those tickets. Their only choice is to downgrade, and they had to give up their good seats in order to do so, putting themselves at some risk of not getting tickets in their price range at all. Some of whom were very loyal fans for years. They have had a really tough decision to make. If it were me, it would be hard to be objective about this.
What else am I looking forward to, once the semester is over? A return to the Ladies' X's and O's Football Camp! It will be a reunion with many of the women who participated last year. I will enjoy being with a couple of friends as well who will be "newbies" to this great event.
For those who are interested, as of last week there are still seats available in the Tuesday, June 7th session at Beaver Stadium. For more information, call Elizabeth Shaw at Expedia Cruise Ship Centers, at 800-227-2929 or 814-237-7245.
Men, if you're looking for a unique birthday or early Christmas gift for your diehard female football fan spouse or partner, this is a good one!
Finally, I'm getting a ton of new visitors to my blog site this spring, despite the fact that I haven't written anything since January. Why? The most popular "hits" on my blog have to do with finding tickets for Penn State-Alabama and stories about past Penn State-Alabama games we attended. This will surely be the #1 game this fall in terms of demand and interest. Can't wait!