In the fall of 1981, as an 11-year-old heading to my first practice with the St. Margert Mary Spartans Pony Team. This was a new team. Last year I was playing for the Susquehanna Indians Pee-Wee team, but life happens so now I am playing for the Spartans. This was a special year as I got my dream number, number 52. My hero as a kid was Mike Webster, the center for the Steelers. I played center on offense, while playing nose tackle on defense. I also was the long snapper for punts and extra points. We had two awesome running backs on our team, one of them you might know. He played at Notre Dame also won a SB with the 49ers. Needless to say, we had a phenomenal team.
The sports writer who covered the Penn State Nittany Lions for the Patriot News was our coach, Ronny Christ. He had a first hand relationship with Coach Joe Paterno. Our teams had a run first mentality and boy did we win. Under Coach Christ we won the State Championships in our first year! As a reward we got a trip to PSU! We go to meet the team, with a walk-through practice on the field at Beaver Stadium, plus a tour of the workout facilities also indoor practice field. Then later that afternoon we got our team jackets during a big dinner then JoePa got up to speak.
Fast forward to 1982, that same team won another State Championship. In fact, no team scored on us that year until the final game of the year, and it was only a field goal. That year, our coach had to land the helicopter he was in over at the far end zone of our home field, because he was covering the Nittany Lions and had to get back to coach his boys! As you might have guessed, we made another triumphant trip up to Happy Valley to meet the team, and play around on the grass at Beaver Stadium, have a dinner, then JoePa got up to speak again.
Funny how the things you did not realize you were listening to as a younger person would play such a huge role in your life when all those things you heard have come to pass.
WE ARE PENN STATE!!!