Tuesday, July 24, 2012


As I may have mentioned before, one way I stay informed on things is by routinely searching "Penn State hockey" and related terms on Twitter. I thought Monday night would be an awful time to check up on that, for obvious reasons. I was dead wrong - in fact, check out some of what I found:

Those ten tweets were retweeted a combined 43 times as of this post's publication which, as many of you know, doesn't capture the full scope of their circulation.

Even though at least a couple of those people are clearly from outside the Penn State community - the guy with "UConn" in his name shouting out UConn-to-PSU transfer Jenna Welch, for example - early indications certainly seem to be that in a bizarre way, The Scandal might ultimately become a good thing for support of the hockey teams. Several other sports may also benefit from the effects, but possibly because of hockey's clean slate at the NCAA level, it seems as if the programs of Guy Gadowsky and Josh Brandwene will see a disproportionate share of the fallout lift. (Out of curiosity, I searched "Penn State basketball" and "Penn State wrestling" as well, and while there was much of the same, hockey's results were the most universally positive in my opinion. Which is great, especially given the concerns I aired out last month.)

I do want to temper this enthusiasm with an admonishment, though. One of my least favorite things about hockey culture is the routine disdain for other sports. Basketball and soccer are usually the popular targets, but for obvious reasons with respect to Penn State, football is now in the crosshairs as well. You can see some bitterness towards football beneath the surface of a few of the tweets above, and I deliberately left out others that took a more direct shot.

If you're a Penn Stater reading this, I hope you realize that this is the time to rally around the entire university, football included. Of course I want hockey to be fantastically supported, but I want it to be because people love the sport and believe in the name on the front of the jersey, the student-athletes representing it, and the coaches and administrators running things. I don't want it to be because people are abandoning the football program en masse and suddenly need new games to attend as a social ritual. Let's rebuild our university, and indeed our collective psyche, in the most productive and supportive way possible - by building up, not tearing down.