Friday, November 18, 2011

Nebraska at Penn State

Everyone questioned what the atmosphere in Beaver Stadium would be for Saturday's game against Nebraska. For the first time in 46 years Joe Paterno would not be there as the head coach of the Nittany Lions.

I did video for pregrame and the first half of the game when several emotional moments happened. Pregame started off with senior day events, with hundreds of former players lined up to cheer the guys on. When the team came out of the tunnel onto the field they did not run, they linked arms and walked all together. Then both teams met in the middle of the field, shook hands, and knelt in a prayer led by one of the Nebraska coaches. For some of those moments, check out my video...

For the second half of the game I put down the video camera and shot stills. Here are a few of my favorites.

Candle Light Vigil

After the eruption in State College with the firing of Joe Paterno and Graham Spanier the students acted out in a way that was not ideal. A peaceful rally at Old Main led to a riot in downtown, with downed light posts, a flipped news van, and cops placing a dispersal order. It was frustrating to be an alum and see this unfold, and even worse when people told television anchors they weren't sure why they were rioting.

Luckily some students quickly stepped up and organized a candle light vigil in support of victims of child abuse. The facebook event had thousands of people saying there were going to attend and as I walked up to Old Main in the brisk air I was amazed to see the amount of people.

I started towards the front of the crowd with several individuals intently listening to the Blue Band play and several people speak.

I worked my way around the crowd and ended up pretty far back on the lawn. I honestly think it is the most people I have ever seen on the Old Main lawn, and everyone was so respectful and calm.

I managed to get back up to the stairs of Old Main and spotted the interim presidents singing along with the alma matter.

When I walked up the steps and looked over the crowd it was very overwhelming. Candles were glowing in every direction. I was proud now to be an alum, and quietly snuck around the students snapping away.

"May no act of ours bring shame
To one heart that loves thy name,
May our lives but swell thy fame,
Dear old State, dear old State. "

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Joe Paterno, fired

It was a very crazy week here in Happy Valley. Former Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky was arrested for sexually assaulting minors and the investigation report on him done by the grand jury was released to the public. From there things went quickly downhill within the University.

My feelings on all the developments and the situation are all over the place. It's all I've been reading, hearing, talking about, and photographing for the last week and I still feel I don't have nearly enough information to be able to formulate any kind of opinion. I do know is that I worked a lot, and our nice quiet town, has not been nice and quiet.

Things really started to get out of hand on Tuesday, when I was called in to work on my day off to go over to Joe Paterno's house were students were gathering to show their support. As I pulled up the road was closed and I could hear chanting as I ran down the hill to his house. He had pulled into a mob of students and was trying to walk to his garage. He smiled as he fought the crowd, smiled for a few pictures, and thanked everyone for their support.

Once he was in the house he and Sue came over to the front window and as he opened the window students rushed towards the house.

He thanked the crowd again and reminded everyone to keep the victims in their prayers.

"Beat Nebraska!" He proclaimed with a fist.

After a while of chants and cheers Joe walked out of the house to again talk to everyone, he didn't even have his shoes on.

Wednesday I was back to Joe's house to join the group of about 100 other media members wait for him to leave for practice. Early Wednesday morning Joe announced that he would retire at the end of the season.

Joe watched as the team started to come out for practice, and gave a few pointers to the kicker.

As the night unfolds, the board of trustees holds a press conference that was packed with media outlets from across the country. When Surma announced Spanier was fired, the room stayed quiet, then with the announcement of Joe Paterno being fired the entire room gasped and started yelling questions.

After the press conference students took the streets in town, and Joe and Sue emotionally came out of their houes in their pajamas to talk to the media. I was sent back to work to edit and help prepare the next days paper so missed out on the craziness. Then it set in as I was driving home from work during the early morning hours, I photographed Joe Paterno's last practice as football coach.

Thursday governor Corbett arrived to meet with the trustees and also answered questions.

So much in three short days, and so much more to come.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Playoff Soccer

As the fall weather starts to feel more like winter, fall sport playoffs are in full swing. Covered back to back District 6 soccer championship games the other night. The State College girls set the tone first with their win over Central Mountain.

The boys game followed, as they crushed Hollidaysburg. With a final score of 4-1, they didn't celebrate as much as the girls did, but now both teams move into state playoffs.