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September 4, 2013 - Darian Somers
Normalcy is something that is subjective.
Normalcy for my mom was making sure I was keeping my grades up my first year in college. For my dad, it was making sure I didn't go broke.
Normalcy for me growing up was having a chance to smile every Saturday in the fall when the Nittany Lions were taking the field. When the alma mater was playing. When I got an answer from yelling "We Are." When I would fall asleep in my mom's arms inside the loudest sporting venue on earth. (It hasn't happen since my fifth birthday.) When I would cry after heartbreaking losses to Minnesota and Iowa… and that's not even a quarter of them. All of those things were normal for me growing up.
Normalcy is something we all strive for, but normalcy is something that finds you. Normalcy for you could be the specific time your family sits down for dinner.
Normalcy for my friends and I, well it's not your normal college experience. We sit outside for three days a week in the fall, braving winds and the smell of manure on the fields around with buses and cars driving by at all hours of the night. We sleep in sleeping bags with no mattress in a tent that isn't staked into the ground.
We beat on trashcans like make-shift drums and pretend we are the entire Blue Band. Later, we hurl footballs into those trashcans like it's our Olympics. None of that is normal to you, but to my friends, it's more normal than the sun coming up and then going down. Sure it's probably not normal for my to waste the couple thousand dollars I'm paying on room and board in my dorm. But normalcy in my other home in Penn State is worth it.
I didn't realize that normalness until long after football season ended with a wild finish against Wisconsin. Or until I started walking past Gate A at 2 a.m. at night to clear my head.
I also didn't realize how much I missed it until spring semester. Football was all I knew for the first weeks of my Penn State career. Then, football was gone. And when Penn State basketball is the laughing stock of the Big Ten, you really miss Penn State football. But it seems like that's normal with Penn State hoops.
I've realized all of that in the long months after, spending more hours watching videos of a tent city and the loud percussionists beating on blue trashcans. I've realized I found my normal. Tonight, I begin a 23-night journey of sleeping outside one of the largest stadiums in the world in the hopes of sitting front row at Penn State games.
Tonight is my address changes, and with that, tonight, my normalcy returns. Tonight, I begin sleeping in Nittanyville in hopes of the best seats in Beaver Stadium. Tonight, what you think isn't normal for a college student, and what is completely normal with my friends -- well -- goes back to normal.
I'm a sophomore at Penn State and an officer in Nittanyville, a student run organization that camps out before every home Penn State football game. Follow me on Twitter @StuffSomersSays for more updates from Gate A.