Tag Archives: penn state

Seize the moment: “Time keeps on slippin’, slippin’, slippin’ into the future”

My teenage son and I love to listen to 70’s and 80’s rock as we drive to his school in the morning.  My greatest enjoyment is singing along while we drive.  Like many, the interior of my car is the stage and my captive passengers are the audience.  While I slaughter the lyrics and bob my head like any good rocker, the smiles, laughter and “stop you look crazy” comments are priceless.

Of recent, work demands have elevated to new highs with no end in sight.  Time away from family has increased.  As I performed with the Steve Miller Band this morning, the lyrics, “Time keeps on slippin’, slippin’, slippin’ into the future” hit me pretty hard.  Music is like a time machine for me.   As this song played on XM Radio, I immediately remembered the first time I heard it while sitting in my North Halls dorm room at Penn State.  Waiting on friends to walk over to Beaver Stadium for a great day of football, the lyrics were permanently burned into my memory. There I was for a moment,  a 19 year-old loving life and college and, then that priceless smile on my 14 year-old son’s face as his 53 year-old father, who works too much,  butchered a song.  Yes, time does keep on slippin’ into the future.  Its slips into the future fast! 

Is it more important to squeeze every moment out of a day for another meeting or stand on your Chevy Malibu stage with the XM Radio Band butchering a song while bobbing your head like a fool to your captive audience?  The answer to that question is pretty obvious!  I hope when my son is 53 driving his son to school and the Steve Miller Band plays this song on the really old oldies channel, he will relive that day when he was 14 locked in a car with his rocker dad.  A moment captured because his dad opted out of work this morning and drove him to school.

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The name on the front of the jersey is what really matters, not the name on the back.

As a guy who  was born in Mississippi and spent the majority of his life in the south, the idea of going to a “yankee” school was absolutely the last thing I would have ever considered!  Going to high school in the Philadelphia area, I wore my southern heritage proudly and talked boastfully to all that I would be attending college back in North Carolina upon graduation.  However, one night my father came home from work and threw a blank college application at me and said, “I just saw the Penn State campus and thats where you are going!”  Needless to say, I had immediate mental images of my deceased family ancestors rolling over in their graves!  I bucked my father and completed applications to UNC-Chapel Hill and Davidson College and eventually the Penn State application.  I knew in my heart that the southern schools would gladly welcome back a son of the south who had been forced to live north of the Mason-Dixon line.  Grits, sweet tea, fried chicken..I knew I would be southern bound for college!  However, they betrayed and abandoned me.  Neither school offered me the opportunity to repatriate to the south!  And, then one day this envelope arrived inviting me to enter the bastion of Happy Valley, also known as Penn State-University Park.  Oh no!  Would I start talking nasally, look at the south with disdain and learn to eat green beans which are  barely cooked with no salted pork? 

Well, I entered into the world of Penn State, the land of the Nitany Lion, the home of the grilled stickies and college football at Beaver Stadium!  The title of this blog is a quote from Coach Joe Paterno.  “The name on the front of the jersey is what matters, not the name on the back.”  I didn’t realize this at first, but this quote sums up in so many ways what Penn State taught me.  For the most part, my friends were the first generation from their families to attend college.  Most were raised in Pennsylvania blue collar families or small towns where hard work, loyalty to friends and enjoying the simple things were important to everyday life.  At every football game one cheer always stood out, “WE ARE PENN STATE!”  Thousands of people shouting in unison, “WE ARE PENN STATE!”  This defines the Penn State experience. You are part of something bigger than  yourself.  Its the pride and honor of being called a Penn Stater  standing united and learning:  hard work, loyalty to friends and enjoying the simple things in life.  Its being part of a team.  For all Penn Staters, Coach Joe taught each of us that the name on the front of the jersey is what really matters.  Plain jerseys, blue or white, no individual names.  It takes all of us to make a team.  For me that translated into service to others, the team and a desire to be seen as a man who serves God.  Its not about me, its about what God accomplishes through my life.  I fall short of this daily, but it is my desire not to let this world put my name or life on a pedestal.  Its the name on the front of the jersey, its His name!

Thanks for reading my ramblings!