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Mike the Mailman: Welcome to Happy Valley, Bill O'Brien

by on January 17, 2012 6:00 AM

Back in the early '80s, there was a guidebook written by Greg J. Woodman, edited by Mike Poorman and titled "Are You a Penn Stater?"

Now that we have a new football coach, I started to think about what, besides this book, Bill O'Brien should familiarize himself with. Like a coin toss, there are two sides of Happy Valley that O'Brien needs to learn — Penn State and all of its traditions, and State College, his new home.
For the Penn State side, I would recommend a couple campus visits by the new coach.

  • Old Main, especially on the weekend at the top of any hour, when the chimes ring a special verse of 'Hail to the Lions.'
  • The Lion Shrine, anytime day or night.
  • The Tavern restaurant has a Championship Room. Maybe Coach O'Brien and his family could enjoy a dinner in there. Of course, dessert is a great way to finish off any meal, so they should then head up to the Creamery and figure out what their favorite flavors are.
  • In February, he should make an appearance at THON, learn the line dance and experience the real heart of this university.
  • And in April, there's this little weekend we call the Blue-White game.

While on campus, a few things to note.

  • Keep snacks in your pocket, as the squirrels on campus outnumber the student body 3-to-1.
  • Get a Nittany Lion on your license plate as soon as possible. (In an unofficial survey by me, when people come into my office to mail speeding ticket violation payments, those who have a Lion license plate are 45 percent less likely to receive anything more than a warning.)
  • Lastly, familiarize yourself with the following areas: Glendale, Miami, New Orleans, and Pasadena. These four cities are where we are hoping you will be spending every Christmas, prepping for whatever BCS bowl game you get the Lions into.

For the town side of things:

  • Climb Mount Nittany. At the lookout, there is a great view of the entire Happy Valley.
  • In May, come celebrate with the founder of Memorial Day, Boalsburg, as it hosts a ton of festivities over that weekend.
  • Arrive early for the Fourth of July fireworks at Beaver Stadium and be prepared for an unforgettable show. Later in the month of July, enjoy the "Best of the Fest" Arts Festival and perhaps purchase some items at this show to help decorate your new residence.

Above all, I suggest you start your new journey in the heart of 16802: my office, right across from the HUB student union building.

The pulse of the student body runs through here, and as you may in some ways be considered a freshman on campus this year, I have a Freshmen Top Ten list for you to review. Also, you can see what previous coaches, their wives and others have won my cookie of the month contest to date.

Happy Valley was given its name in part because of our welcoming demeanor. It is in that tradition that I am excited to welcome Bill O'Brien and his family here to Happy Valley.

Related coverage: Mike the Mailman's Column Page.

Mike (The Mailman) Herr gives his stamp of approval to all visitors Monday through Friday at the University Park post office in the ground floor of McAllister Building, adjacent to the HUB. His views and opinions do not necessarily reflect those of Penn State University.
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