Tuesday, October 21, 2008

American Politics, Jamaican Agriculture, and Greek Life

Fall weekends in a college town means sunny Saturday afternoons with crispy leaves at football games. Following Penn State (#3 in the polls behind Obama and McCain - er, wait, wrong poll) has kept us busy and given us some experiences we will never forget.

A few weeks ago, Kathi's family came out east for a weekend of football and volleyball. We all cheered our hearts out as PSU's defending champion and top-ranked volleyball team beat Iowa and PSU's top ten football team routed Illinois in a prime time white out (Kathi's dad enjoyed finally being able to root for a winning team for once this fall). Between the two games we saw the receiver of the Immaculate Reception join the product of the Immaculate Conception as Franco Harris headlined the Barack Obama campaign's tailgate right next to ours. (Todd Palin actually showed up to a PSU Republicans tailgate last week).

Unfortunately, we did not get to see the #2-ranked tennis duo of Larry and Eric try to upend the #1 seeded Chad Sampras and Kathi Graf. Eric couldn't play the match because he twisted his ankle while teaching his kindergarten kids Lance Bass dance moves and Larry's tennis raquet was made of wood....wood!

The next weekend we travelled west to Columbus, Ohio to watch Chad's sister play soccer against the Buckeyes. We spent Saturday night in nearby Zanesville (a.k.a. the middle of nowhere) watching the Nittany Lions paste the Wisconsin Badgers in another prime time football game. We celebrated the victory until 12:30 in the morning and then hit up our king-sized bed (it was longer than Kathi). Trying to fall asleep, we realized that we weren't the only ones celebrating the big win. We smelled something strange coming through the frame of the door joining our room to the adjacent one.

Chad tried stuffing towels and pillows in the cracks but we couldn't keep the smell of marijuana out of our room. Kathi fought the urge to go buy a bucket of chicken wings and we called the front desk to ask for assistance. A red-eyed, frizzy-haired woman knocked on the door a few minutes later offering us a new room and a price reduction, saying she'd "take care of the problem." We happily (frugally) accepted Fran's offer and let her re-join the party in our neighbors room. We're guessing that this kind of behavior will end her streak of three straight employee of the month awards.

We returned to Pennsylvania to host 15 of our friends and family members for the Michigan game. After a crispy afternoon of tailgating, we got everybody into the stadium for $60 or less - no mean feat, considering many from our crew wore maize and blue.

Kathi, Shawna, and Bria sat in the senior rows of the student section. The girls all said they felt like students again. In reality they looked like elementary students while waving their pom poms in people's faces and repeatedly falling off their bleacher. Did they even know there was a game going on? I think the saying goes, "you can take the girls out of Hamilton, Lake Odessa and ... Holland (c'mon Bria - you're better than that), but you can't take Hamilton, Lake Odessa, and Holland out of the girls."

Chad and Jeff took the scalped student tickets in the junior section. They got to their seats and realized that they were occupied. "Oh my gosh, you must be the one's that bought Christina's tickets," said Jenny, the Valley Girl that was in their seats with her boy toy sporting a "don't even think about it" look. Jenny promptly informed them that they couldn't sit there because she had blocked off all the seats around her for her BFFs - that's right, they were in Sorority Central. Chad and Jeff forced their way into the row right next to Jenny's boyfriend, commenting on how nice the flipped up collars on his shirts looked, before switching with a few Delta Xi's on the aisle of their row for some more room.

Chad and Jeff discussed during the first quarter of the game that Michigan can't be taken lightly. Kathi, Shawna, and Bria discussed during the first half that Appalachian Outdoors is the best place to shop for cute winter scarves (wait, who was sitting in Sorority Central). But when Penn State's Jared Odrick sacked Michigan quarterback Nick Sheridan in the end zone for a safety, nobody had to discuss anything anymore. All the problems of the world (and our voices) went away during that one cathartic moment. 110,000 screaming fans never sounded so wonderful to our ears.