Congratulations Penn State Football! Your win over Maryland solidified your bowl game eligibility. Now what? Now I’m no expert, but I’ve created a list of a few suggestions to not only further your success in the season, but also potentially increase your chances of receiving an invitation to a higher tier bowl game.
Stay healthy: This may come as a no brainer to many, but I’m not only speaking of on the field health. I may not be a student athlete, but I do enjoy going to the gym at least three times a week—so I think that makes my opinion and suggestion valid, right? Anyway, my first step to staying healthy is getting plenty of rest. We understand you have workouts as well as social lives, so plan accordingly. My next point, wash your hands! Not only do you all use the same weight room equipment, but you also share classrooms, common areas, cafeterias, etc. as at least thousands of people each day. It’s easy to protect yourself from getting other people’s germs—it is flu season after all—by simply washing your hands. Finally, eat right and drink plenty of water. Make sure you’re not only eating the right amount of protein and carbohydrates (it’s amazing how many calories you all burn in a single workout) but also fruits and vegetables (two of my personal favorites: honey crisp apples and baby carrots—although they’re really not “baby” per se but that’s neither here nor there). In regards to water, during workouts you all definitely need the electrolytes and minerals that are in sports drinks, but remember water is vital to staying healthy. I promise you’ll feel better (and maybe even lighter—feeling lighter leads to running faster, right? Remember, I’m a law student, not a med student).
Stay humble, or be humbled: It’s great that Nittany Lion Nation can assemble and unite in a given stadium at the end of the season to cheer you all on in a bowl game because you won six games, but guess what? Michigan State and Ohio State became bowl eligible, two games ago. I say that not to be discouraging, but to remind you all that the season, drive and motivation doesn’t stop at six (I know you all know and believe this already, but you get my drift). Don’t take the next couple of games for granted; they’re not guaranteed wins. If you’re not humble, believe me, the next team coming will be more than happy to humble you on a national scale, and we don’t want that. As a university, we thrive on representing ourselves as being classy; let’s keep it that way even on the field.
One more: Treat every game as if it’s the win you need to become bowl eligible. This suggestion goes hand in hand with the previous one, but it also touches on maintaining motivation to becoming the great team we all know you have the potential to be. Keep that hunger to make a statement on a national level. Never be satisfied with the win of day; enjoy it, yes, but always go for one more.
Be positive: You’ve spent countless hours with each other in practices and games. You all are more like brothers than teammates at this point, and at times, brothers get irritated with each other. Try to maintain the attitude to mindset that you are all pursuing the same goal: to get to a big bowl game and win as much as possible. Don’t bring each other down—nag at your DB teammate for not making that interception or at your receiver teammate for dropping a pass—encourage one another. Positivity goes a long way in achieving goals together.
Enjoy the ride: There are so many people who would love the opportunity to play for a huge athletic program like you all are doing. Keep that in mind. Remember why you kept playing football in the first place; yes, you were good at it but more often than not, you love the game itself. This suggestion is especially pertinent to the seniors. I wish you all the best in achieving a professional career, but several of my friends who are fortunate enough to play in the NFL say it’s completely different and they cherish the time they had while playing for their universities. These last two games at Beaver Stadium, find something different about playing there, reflect on it and cherish it.
We all stand behind you in achieving your goals while representing Nittany Lion Nation.