This particular weekend, our family calendar is completely full of events and obligations. Yesterday, we marveled at the big screen, cinematic universe of Star Wars; today, we are watching the Pittsburgh Panthers women’s basketball. Their challenger, and rival: the Penn State Lady Lions women’s basketball team, of course.
In other words: my Current Employer versus my Alma Mater.
I’ve often wondered if I should feel a deep-seated, internal conflict between the two. I attended and graduated from Penn State, yet I work at the rivaling college—and receive my weekly sustenance from them. Nah, no debate or struggle here. I love my job, and this game happens to be one of the perks of the position. I’ve scored nine free tickets to the Friends and Family Day.
My family, including two enthusiastic-for-basketball-right-now girls and a father-in-law, has just walked through the metal detectors in the Petersen Event Center. Five minutes prior we met another family, that we’ve invited, in the parking lot.
And family-day type of stuff abounds in every direction: face painting, balloon artistry, green screen photo studio, free t-shirts and banners, and let’s not forget the food: soft drinks, hot dogs, pretzels, popcorn, and boxed candy.
All of it is on the University’s dime, for staff and faculty. That’s me.
My girls, and both of their respective best friends, are having a great time. I ask my son for thoughts and feedback: “cool,” he replies. The Panthers start strong and aggressive, but Penn State is really good, and the lead dwindles to zero.
Penn State secures the lead for the remainder of the match-up—final score: PSU 59, Pitt 48. The game really is secondary to the experience of everything else. No complaints here, everyone is having a great time. At the end of the game, my daughter and her friend are fighting over a t-shirt which was launched into the crowd by a cheerleader.
It brings me joy, to bring a group of people to the game who will appreciate the adventure, and leave with new fond memories—and a belly full of soft pretzels, yumm! Good times!