Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Big Ten Tour Hits Penn State

Andrew Cieszynski and his friends are doing a Big Ten Tour this fall, taking in games at each Big Ten stadium. The Akron-PSU game was first on their list.

We promise you, this is NOT an advertisement. Air Tran gave us NO money to say this, but we had an awesome time on the Air Tran flight from Milwaukee to Baltimore.Before taking off the flight attendant, Walt, says over the intercom, "We'd like to welcome the Pac Ten roadies to the flight." We kindly reminded him that this is the Big Ten tour.

The flight attendants offered us a round of drinks on the house, so we had to take them up on the offer. Wes took about 5 minutes to deliberate on his drink of choice, so the flight attendant reminded him to work on his social skills.

The place that impressed us the most was known as the "Cell Block." Penn Staters told us that it was fornerly called the Crow Bar or Johnson Rod or something of that sort. Regardless, they had these huge pitchers of beer, so we thought we'd order two. After finishing both at 64 ounces each, we asked for our check. The server said , "That'll be $4.00." The 4 of us looked at each other and said, "Come again?" She replied "$4.00" Are you kidding me? We can't even find a happy hour 12 ounce beer in Milwaukee for less than $3.50 and you're giving us a 64 oz. beer for $2.00

Later that evening, we were interviewed by B94.5 All Hitz as Drew and Blake spoke on the air.

Without seeing the other 10 stadiums, you have to think that Happy Valley is one of the best tailgating venues. There are miles of open fields, mountains in the background, and lots of space to get your grill, games, and beer out from the bed of your truck.

What we don't like on the Big 10 Tour, assigned parking spaces. One of the friends we made liked wearing navy high socks/tights in 80 degree weather. Someone parked in this poor guy's spot. Strangely enough, when he told security, they did nothing about it...so he took action into his own hands - he left a note on their car. We applaud him for his restraint, because we would have smashed the windows in with a baseball bat. The same guy who parked on "Socks'" spot later returned to the car, backed out of the spot and ran over our cooler. Let's just say there was retaliation.

So as you can guess, the game itself was not very eventful. The Akron Zips seemed like a Junior Varsity team & it was tough to stay focused on the game. As you'll see from some of the videos below however, PSu has some notable things to see and hear during the game. The one you can't miss is the roaring lion sound after most PSU plays. You'll hear "roar-roar-roar" and it gets the crowd pretty fired up. Then there's the unforgettable "We Are...Penn State" chant. The Zombie Nation song is fun to sing along with, but it probably doesn't beat singing Sweet Caroline. We all did comment that the timing of the Sweet Caroline was a bit odd however, as the crowd only got to sing along to the chorus once before it was gametime one again.

Our Saturday evening then led us to the Gingerbread Man & then to Phryst Pub where we took part in "Table Wars." This was clearly one of the most unique/most fun ideas we've ever seen at a bar. The below video is a little dark, but you might get an idea of how it works. Regardless, they sell great beer and offer a good time. Check it out. The nightlife then concluded at the Lion's Den where a few of the players and ex-players made appearances.

The down side of their trip? The front office.

We had originally planned on attending the Baltimore Orioles game that evening, but thought we would jump on this offer and cancelled our tickets to the Orioles game and asked Drew's brother to take off work Friday to drive us up to State College a day early.A response was sent to Jeff on that same day. No response was received over the next two weeks and a follow-up was sent to Jeff on August 27th asking for some further details on "football eve."After no response was received, another follow up email sent on August 30th. At this time, we began to think that Jeff may have come down with polio so we tried other members of the Penn State staff including Greg Myford, Guido D'Elia, Jeff Fisher, & Dave Baker. Apparently they couldn't find the reply button either.

On August 2nd I once more emailed Jeff and company as well as left them voicemails.

Finally I gave up. I understand, we're all busy with our careers. For Penn's sake, the members of this tour often work 70 hour work weeks, but it's clear that they were now blowing us off.So I made one last attempt and emailed Athletic Director Tim Curley and Associate Athletic Director Fran Ganter. I wrote them the message below and gave up on Penn State.

And the best tailgate? Blue Hair.

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