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After a Heartbreaking Loss, Some Fans Need to Take a Deep Breath

by on October 31, 2017 5:00 AM

Penn State lost a football game on Saturday. No fan died, lost a limb, or was even injured as a result -- other than perhaps a bruised ego, maybe a hangover, or a little lighter wallet from losing a bet.

That was an incredibly entertaining battle between two very good football teams worthy of top 10 rankings. The season has a long way to go and I am glad that the players, and especially the team leaders recognized and stated that after the game. Maybe we can all learn how to handle adversity better through their example. 

The players are hurting physically and emotionally. The coaches and the staff are hurting inside and not just for themselves, but for the players that they genuinely care about. In case you missed it, several of Penn State's key linemen on both sides of the ball actually did get hurt and missed the rest of the game. That requires adjustments. 

In the end not even the most optimistic Buckeye fan would have bet that their QB would be 16 of 16 in the fourth quarter. Sure, we did make some mistakes, but so did they, given the pressure-filled setting.  

What I read after the game on some social media posts was ludicrous and downright nasty. 

Why? 

If you are going to be a fan, then be a fan. 

Fire the coaches? Really? 

For goodness sakes, we lost to Temple two years ago! This program has come back from the ashes faster than anyone could have imagined. It is a testament to our academic reputation, our football tradition, our incredible athletic facilities, our outstanding student-athletes, and our inspired coaching staff. We are still in the top 10, we will recover, and I believe this will be another memorable finish. Give these kids and coaches the credit they deserve.

As fans we are certainly allowed to voice opinions and to do our Monday morning quarterbacking, but a lot of us grow very tired of the negative, outlandish and hateful posts from some so-called “fans”.

I still have yet to meet a fan that was ever wrong about a play call or a game plan. Or one that would admit all their wrong calls publicly afterward.

I was just as frustrated and disappointed in the outcome as anyone. But I am sure our hurt as fans is nowhere near that of the players and the staff. This team deserved a better fate perhaps, but in the end they lost. By one point to the No. 6 team in the country, in their stadium, before a sold-out crowd.  

I get it. It hurts because of what could have been. It hurts because it was to THE Ohio State University, or “THE evil empire” as they are jokingly known in our house. It’s all in the perspective. 

Chill out. It’s a football game. That’s all. A game.Too many fans make it more important than it is and make outrageous comments like “That’s it, the season is over,” and “My life is ruined.” Why even say that?

Take a deep breath and relax. There is still plenty to play for including a chance to make the College Football Playoff. I seem to recall last year that the tables were turned with Ohio State and Penn State. The Buckeyes still have a couple tough road games at Iowa and at Michigan. Don’t give up on this Penn State team. Real fans will stick with these kids AND our coaches.

I believe sports matter. I believe in the power of sport to inspire people to be their best and to be part of worthy causes. So let’s show some character and poise as fans and stick with our guys. 

A long time ago, my youth football coach told my teammates and me to “Win with humility, lose with grace, and do both with dignity”.  

Fire the coaches? No way. They will ready the troops for MSU. Michigan State, Michigan State, Michigan State. I hope you will rally behind them.

 

 

 

 

 



Joe Battista has been an integral part of the Penn State and State College communities since 1978. He is best known for his effort to bring varsity ice hockey to Happy Valley and in the building of Pegula Ice Arena. “JoeBa” is the owner of PRAGMATIC Passion, LLC consulting, a professional speaker, success coach, and the vice president of the National Athletic and Professional Success Academy (NAPSA). He is the author of a new book, “The Power of Pragmatic Passion.” Joe lives in State College with his wife Heidi (PSU ’81 & ’83), daughter Brianna (PSU ’15), and son’s Jon (PSU ’16), and Ryan (State High Class of 2019).
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