1992. The last season Penn State was independent. The first season Penn State played Miami.
Two young men, one an undergrad, one a recent grad are at a fraternity tailgate and take stock in the fact that several of the grey haired men in attendance are wearing pants that, quite frankly, these two young men aren’t sure they’d be caught in dead. The pants are khaki and feature the famous Penn State Nittany Lion Aerodynamic Head embroidered up and down the legs, slightly reminiscent of the famous whale pants from the eighties.
The two men have several beers during the day and watch Penn State as they lose the game to Miami. The younger had never seen Penn State lose a home game in his college career. As they walked home from the game the two remarked on the pants they’d seen worn by older alumni. One dared the other to buy them. It was agreed that if one bought the pants the other would be required to follow suit.
The pants were nowhere to be found.
Over the years, the two men continued to search for the pants. In the early days, before internet access was widely available, the search took place in State College, annually. Over the years, as the internet took hold of our lives, we searched on-line every summer looking for the pants.
Every year, we lamented the fact that we could not find these pants. We discussed the possibility of having them made on one or more occasions. I even had a contact who considered it, but declined due to concerns that she might get sued by the university for unauthorized use of the logo.
2010: Orvis has stadium pants available on their website, but not Penn State. 2011: Browner identifies a site that carrys the pants in navy blue. Not quite right.
September 5, 2012, 14:24 EDT: Browner sends an MMS to me, Gus, and Schwinger. Shit gets interesting. Within an hour, I’ve ordered a pair from a store in State College. The salesman says, “We’ve had quite a run on these. I’ll get them out no later than tomorrow.”
September 6, 2012, 4:26 PM: UPS Shows up. I was expecting a shipment from Amazon. To my delight, a second package arrives from Harpers.
It took us 20 years. It started as a joke, two young guys wearing old man pants. The searching is done. We’re a lot older now, but at heart, we’re still two twenty something frat boys.
It’s been a shitty year for Penn Staters. For the first time since I graduated, I did not give to my Alma Matter last year. It’s been a shitty year for Penn State football. Joe Fucked Up, for sure, but he wasn’t the criminal. He was crucified. He died in disgrace and that’s truly sad.
I really haven’t been interested in the coming football season.
Now I am.