What MASH students should take away from Appalachian State’s (almost) monumental defeat of Penn State

Tyler Schwarzman, Sports Editor

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Whether you drove the 100 miles or so to Happy Valley, or attended the Mechanicsburg varsity soccer games and heard the play-by-play announcements, or relaxed on your couch watching TV two Saturdays ago, you most likely were on the edge of your seat throughout the entire Penn State football home opener, and for good reason too. For almost the second time in exactly 11 years, Appalachian State’s football team was just a field goal away from shocking the country and becoming the victor of two of the greatest upsets in college football history.

Against all odds, and after shanking a potential game-winning field goal, Appalachian State shocked the 10th-best college football team in the nation by taking them into overtime just two weekends ago. Granted, Jr. Will Hoover and lifelong PSU football fan mentioned how understandable it was for “PSU to struggle with the absence of their star-running back and freak athlete Saquon Barkley.” Additionally, MASH Principal Mr. Harris, a PSU alum, noted how the team was also “missing several impact players from last season,” such as graduates Marcus Allen and DaeSean Hamilton. In the end, though, it was PSU who squeaked out a 45-38 victory in OT, winning a game in which their head coach, James Franklin, stated he felt like he aged five years. Nevertheless, the talent, determination, and heart displayed by the underdogs was stunning and motivational to say the least.

Despite Appalachian State’s inability to repeat their Cinderella story, Beaver Stadium was indeed undergoing an upset alert from the start of the first quarter. Even so, “upsets” aren’t anything new. They are not just limited to Appalachian State, or to college football, or to sports in general. In reality, an “upset” is anytime someone or something overcomes what they perceive as immense odds. For some, this could be as simple as acing a test.

Furthermore, if a one seed can be defeated in the first round of the NCAA March Madness Tournament, and if Appalachian State can come within one play of taking down 10th ranked Penn State, then you can present in front of your peers, you can open up to somebody, you can finish that diet, and you can get that job.

Additionally, this (almost) upset can teach MASH students an even greater lesson. High school can be an amazing time of growth, but also of competition. No matter the time of the year, talks of class ranks and test scores roam the halls and classrooms, similarly to the way the AP Top 25 and Coaches Poll are the talk of ESPN, college football enthusiasts, and fans. Yes, the point I am trying to make is, interestingly enough, class ranks parallel the NCAA football rankings.

Thankfully, however, teams like Appalachian State exist to challenge the validity and importance of these numbers, numbers that our own students value so highly. While a high class rank and above average SAT score does look intriguing on a transcript, these numbers fail to limit how much we can value our own unique talents, or how successful and happy we ultimately will become.

Why? Because whether your biggest daily challenge or task is a personal, social, athletic, or intellectual one, you can accomplish it. It is all about the approach. Anything is possible. Just be like Appalachian State. Be prepared. Be focused. Be driven. And get involved! Who cares if you are an underdog? According to MASH Principal Mr. Harris, being an underdog “teaches you about both adversity and success in life” and summons “a tremendous amount of respect from your peers” – an absolutely delightful and necessary feeling that all should experience.

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What MASH students should take away from Appalachian State’s (almost) monumental defeat of Penn State