My Nittany Lions became bowl eligible yesterday. For those of you who aren’t football geeks let me provide a translation–they have won 6 football games during the season and that makes them eligible to play in a post-season bowl game (generally held sometime between Christmas and just after New Years).
Yeah–so what, you’re saying? Yeah, we know you love your Lions, but why a swog post on that?
Ah, my faithful swog friends–but yet again there are lessons to be learned with the ups and downs of life.
Most of you know that Penn State has been through an unprecedented time in both school history and in NCAA Division I history (unless you’ve been hidden someplace under a rock for the last 3 years OR are Rip Van Winkle). With the uncovering of the–I hate even mentioning his name here–Sandusky child abuse, Penn State was leveled with unprecedented sanctions which included a 4 year bowl ban. Early this year, the bowl ban was lifted, but Penn State–also crippled by scholarship restrictions–had its weakest team since the whole thing happened. Winning 6 games was not going to be a gimme.
Forty-six seniors stuck with Penn State 3 years ago when the sanctions were levied. Even though they were in fact free agents (any school could come in and recruit them and they could transfer without loosing a year of eligibility), they stayed. They stayed. And they persevered losing their beloved coach, having a nation shine a big light on the program, taunting at opposing schools, humiliating losses, lower attended home games and the list goes on. All of which was NOT THEIR FAULT. None of it.
They stayed. They stayed in the darkest of times and worked their butts off to move forward. They didn’t speak negatively in public about the unfairness of their situation. They didn’t make excuses. They worked on what they could control. They persevered.
How sweet yesterday must have been for those young men. And no matter if they end up playing in the “Tidy Bowl” versus someplace like the Rose Bowl, they will know the grace of perseverance.
We all go through dark times in life. We can’t escape this world without experiencing life-altering circumstances. Sometimes it’s of our own doing and sometimes it’s totally out of our control. But, these young men impressed me with three things we should absorb when those bad things happen to us good people:
- Embrace the pain and sit with what lessons it can teach us
- Do your best to forgive those responsible for your pain (bitterness is a poison we swallow and hope the other person dies)
- Soak in the joy and be grateful when the tide turns
They stayed and they’re bowl eligible. Nittany Nation should be grateful for these young men and the lessons their journey has taught us. I certainly am.