I stepped out of the truck and looked around at the college football game day events unfolding. A special excitement lingered in the air. Tailgates were down, grills were hot, and beers were cold. Enthusiastic fans set up their make shift homes for the day decorated with their team’s memorabilia. Their eyes were proud. There is no greater feeling than the feeling that you are a part of something great.
I watched faces from 1 years of age to 93 laughing, eating, playing, and cheering on their favorite college football team with friends and family. There was no doubt I was a part of something great. Years of tradition brought back to life for one night… one game… Penn State’s White Out game.
The white atmosphere was filled with unrivaled intimidation towards Michigan. All day, white out crowds roared at one of their biggest rivals. “We Are” chants echoed off the Pennsylvania mountains. The spirit of the fans was unbreakable.
After too much spirits of another sort, fans bounced in line at the porter potties. Two girls stood behind me making hateful comments about Michigan fans who were tailgating nearby. The girls shouted obscenities towards the wolverines.
I was appalled and angered that their actions would inaccurately and negatively reflect on the rest of us wearing the Penn State name. These girls clearly forgot that despite the different jersey on our backs we are all human. We all bleed red… not blue & white.
Their actions were embarrassing to everyone around them. I whispered to my husband that I could not stay quiet for long. I spoke up and challenged their disrespect with kind words of those they were bashing. One of the girls stopped but the other did not.
I thought how ashamed I would be if my own children behaved in such a hateful manner towards another human being. Above all, I want to raise my children to be kind. I want them to spread kindness and positively touch the lives of other people. Even the smallest act of kindness can turn someone’s life around. I teach my children to always do what they can to keep their faith in humanity.
Hate is powerful but compassion is more powerful.
Back at the tent, I told my husband and friends how much those girls’ comments bothered me. I gnawed my lips in agitation and studied the crowd. My gaze fell on four Michigan fans huddled under a tent near us. They looked out of place in a sea of blue and white. I told my friends I wanted to befriend them and get a group picture that says, “Spread love not hate.”
And, so, an uncommon friendship was formed.
Two powerful predators, who are largely solitary by nature, scavenged together in Happy Valley. In the midst of tossing beanbags and discussing life, the lions and wolverines turned intimidation into honor.
The eight of us may not have stopped all the hate in the world but we were able to spread love to the four corners of the stadium.
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