Watching the Hoosiers of Indiana University claim an overtime football victory against the Nittany Lions of Penn State not only provided much needed fun in a world still reeling from lockdowns and countless existential crises, but also provided excitement safely bound by familiar rules and long-standing good sportsmanship. Fans waited for nearly a year to see their favorite teams take the gridiron and were not disappointed. Athletes gave it their all. Coaches ran the sidelines and hoped the hours of preparation and planning would lead to the desired outcome. Both sides were ready. Still, only one team would walk away as winner. There are no participation trophies in this game.
Naturally, this local paper, like the vast majority of its readers, rooted for the home team. Sure, some of us are alumni, but most followed our natural proclivity to back those closest by geography. One can assume that the people of Philadelphia might be more inclined to hope for a Penn State dominion. This game was played in Bloomington. IU had the home field advantage. Doubtless, fans who’d made the trip to watch and support the opposition would have been heckled some by the locals. It is all in good fun, right?
But for this event, followers were barred. Folks could only chant their well wishes or express their frustrations in front of the living room televisions. No one could hear the names called to the referees or the jeering of the other team’s star player. Maybe that’s better, and maybe it is not.
Today is another big game day. The elections will end, and someone will win. There is no participation trophy. Coaches and candidates gave it their all. Will the fans feel like it was a fair fight? Will the right team dominate? Will we go into overtime?