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Penn State Football: The Line on Shrive is Uplifting

by on July 05, 2013 6:20 AM

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before:

A 6-foot-6, 320-pound Penn State offensive lineman will walk into Scranton’s Waldorf Park Tiki Bar this Saturday night.

Two live bands, a memorabilia auction, basket raffles, a BBQ and an open wine/beer bar will break out. (Just as promised on the event's Facebook page.)

Then, several hours later, the lineman will walk out several thousand dollars closer to his personal lifetime goal of raising more than $100,000 to support kidney cancer research.

Only thing this, it’s not a joke. Anything but. The guy’s name is Eric Shrive and he is president of the Penn State football team’s charity fundraising organization, Uplifting Athletes. After five years of working in the charity trenches, Shrive has raised more than $83,000. And counting.

“It’s always been football, school and Lift For Life,” Shrive says. “I figure if I’m going to do something, I am going to put 100 percent into it no matter what it takes.”

It’s been a five-year process for Shrive. In 2009, he took part in Penn State’s Lift For Life charity event just two weeks after coming to campus, raising $3,500. The next year he raised nearly triple that amount, then collected $25,000 in 2011 and $32,000 last year. Now, Shrive hopes to walk off Penn State’s outdoor lacrosse field next Friday with his second straight year of $32K. That would give him a hundred grand in dollars raised.

“I’ll hit $100,000 no matter what,” he says. “I have to.”

In addition to the Scranton event, you can help Shrive do it next Friday in State College. That’s when Shrive and his fellow Nittany Lion football players will stage the 11th annual “Lift for Life” competition, a series of strong man events pitting Penn State’s offense against the defense.

The lax field is located south of the Bryce Jordan Center and across University Drive from the football practice facility. Gates open at 4 p.m., events take place from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., followed by an autograph session. Tickets are $5 for children and $10 for adults. A silent auction will also be held and Penn State’s new “no bag” policy will be in effect. For more information about the event and to donate, click here.

Shrive isn’t letting his fellow players off easy. In the first decade of Lift For Life, the Penn State football team has raised more than $700,000. Shrive has set his sights on hitting the event’s $1 million mark this year. “Even if we don’t hit $300,000,” says Shrive, “it’s great incentive to raise a lot of money for a great cause.”

Lift For Life is made for a guy like Shrive. It’s all about grinding it out, and toiling in anonymity for others, as part of a team, for the greater good. No wonder offensive linemen are the backbones of the organization.

Shrive was the vice president of Penn State Uplifting Athletes for two years before succeeding the graduated Mike Farrell, another offensive lineman, as president. The group’s current vice president, Adam Gress, and operations head, Ty Howle, are offensive linemen as well. Cornerback Da’Quan Davis serves as secretary and tight end Adam Breneman is head of fundraising.

“The five years I’ve been involved with Lift For Life the O-line always shows up,” Shrive says. “There’s something special about that. It’s a great group of guys in that room.”

Shrive’s personal efforts have been recognized as well. At the 2013 Maxwell Awards in March, he was presented with the Uplifting Athletes’ National Rare Disease Champion Award by the national organization’s executive director, former Penn State football player Scott Shirley. For his part, though, Shrive deflects any praise and points to the efforts of his teammates, past and present.

“For all the negative things that have taken place over the past 18 to 20 months, it is great to take a look back over the past 10 years and see what character guys we have here at Penn State and the ones that coach (Bill) O’Brien has brought into program,” Shrive said. “Go find another football program in the country that raises $100,000 annually like we do to fight rare diseases.”

Now in his fifth season at Penn State, Shrive will graduate in December with a degree in hotel and restaurant management. But first he has some on-the-field business to take care of. He’s poised to make a major contribution along a very veteran offensive line. Shrive is listed as the second-team right tackle, behind Gress, on Penn State’s most recent depth chart. Expect him to get plenty of playing time in 2013.

“I’m pleased with my improvement. I’ve really bought into the program that coach O’Brien has brought here,” Shrive says. “I’m really looking forward to my last year. I’m working hard every day, trying to get better. I’m really excited for (preseason) camp to get here on Aug. 4 and help the team as much as I can this year. I’m prepared to play guard, tackle, both sides of the line. Just wherever the team need is where I’ll play.”

A good bit of Shrive’s playing career has been spent around former Nittany Lion quarterback Matt McGloin, who was a teammate at both West Scranton High School and Penn State. After having Shrive watch his back for so many years, McGloin will do the same on Saturday in Scranton. McGloin is taking a break from his efforts to make the Oakland Raiders’ roster to be in attendance at the Waldorf Park Tiki Bar fundraiser.

“You better make sure Matt pays the full $20 to get in,” Shrive was jokingly warned the other day.

“Oh, he’s definitely paying,” Shrive quickly shot back. “In fact, I’m charging Matt double.”

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Mike Poorman has covered Penn State football since 1979. He is a senior lecturer in Penn State's College of Communications and teaches a pair of classes in the John Curley Center for Sports Journalism: “Sports Writing” and “Introduction to the Sports Industry.” He created and taught for several years the Center’s course on “Joe Paterno, Communications and The Media.” Follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/PSUPoorman. His views and opinions do not necessarily reflect those of Penn State University.
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