Blue White Roundtable: Alabama Week Edition
September 7, 2011 – | 1 Comment

Once again, it’s Adam Collyer over at BlackShoeDiaries providing the questions, and we, your humble bloggers, providing the answers. Mine are below, and you can venture off to the remote areas of the blogosphere that …

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A Look Inside: The Paternoville Tent

Submitted by on November 3, 20092 Comments

Penn State students have gained national attention for their dedication: Kirk Herbstreit famously called us “The Best Student Section in the Country” and we’ve been ranked as such by numerous publications, including ESPN The Magazine.  We’re the largest concentrated student section in the country, and we make a ton of noise come game day, making giving our Nittany Lions one of the best home field advantages in all of football with Beaver Stadium.

But no practice exemplifies the Penn State experience like Paternoville.  Every week, hundreds of students camp outside of Gate A for a period of time: two nights for games like Akron and Indiana, and for a full week when opponents like Iowa and Ohio State come to town.  The purpose: to get front row tickets and see their heroes up close.  It’s a tradition that’s unrivaled across the entire college football landscape, and it’s just one more reason to be Penn State proud.  It’s one of those things that everyone who matriculates at Penn State has to try, at least once, and has someone who’s been through it myself, it’s really a ton of fun.

Perhaps Woody Paige said it best, when he remarked: “”I have seen Paternoville, I have seen these students and there is nothing like this in the country.”  Truer words, Woodrow, have never been spoken.

But as with any group involving a large number of students, there’s a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes for Paternoville, and that’s where the Paternoville
Players come down all week to visit the campers
Coordination Committee comes in.  As their mission statement explains, the purpose of the PCC is to: “work with University officals to keep Paternoville a fun and safe place to be, doing so by helping the University formulate and uphold Paternoville regulations.”

With that in mind, friend of the blog John Tecce, the current vice president of the PCC was willing to answer some questions quebecpenspinning had, and we hope you enjoy the dialogue.  You can follow both the PCC and John on Twitter, at @Paternoville and @PVilleVP.

quebecpenspinning: How did you personally get involved with Paternoville and the PCC?

John Tecce: I’ve wanted to do Paternoville ever since I saw the coverage of the 2005 OSU Paternoville campout. The idea that hundreds of students camp out to get good seats and support the team was something

The godfather makes a visit
The godfather makes an appearance
that really appealed to me, and being a lifelong Penn State fan of course I knew it was something I would want to do. The summer leading up to our freshman year, myself and my roommate had talked about doing it and we roped some friends in to join us.

We’ve camped out and sat first row for every game since the 2008 opener against Coastal Carolina. Becoming a “regular” camper brought us very close with the rest of the campers who are there every week. The entire 2008 season I basically shadowed former PCC Vice President Chris Grassi, so when time came for elections I knew I wanted to run for VP and fortunately was elected.

NWO: What are some of the changes the PCC has enacted over the past year?

JT: Some of the changes we made in the off-season in preparation for this year and during the season include:
- Using a Google Doc spreadsheet for the sign in list instead of a paper list. This allows us to update it in real-time and with much more efficiency, and allows “The List” to be accessed by any of the officers at any time.
- Requesting and receiving permission to use the electrical outlets installed for the ticket swipe system. We are allowed to use them to charge our laptops and cell phones and to blow up air mattresses
- Our own “Paternoville” wireless network, which allows campers to have a reliable and strong Wi-Fi signal
- Pushing back the arrival time to the stadium on game day
- Positioning the offcers’ tents closest to the sidewalk for better accessibility

Spandex... Yeah, let's not talk.
Less important people come, too

NWO: What are some of your favorite Paternoville memories?

JT: I have too many favorite memories of Paternoville, but here are a few.
- My first night out there in the rain with 11 other tents for Coastal Carolina eating Clem’s and meeting people
- Learning all of the fight songs (our own and those making fun of OSU, Michigan, Pitt, Wisconsin, etc.)
- (current President) Alex Cohen’s speech the night before Illinois last year
- Sitting in the snow the Thursday of Michigan State week last year drinking hot chocolate
- All the Drumlines for Iowa…in fact pretty much the entire Iowa week until right after Chaz Powell’s TD
- Meeting the College Gameday crew

NWO: How is the Ohio State campout shaping up?

JT: This week’s campout is looking to be a great one. First, the weather looks to be pretty cooperative, though we all know how State College weather can be. The numbers are down from Iowa (a record 115 tents and 934 campers), but the attitude is much different. For Iowa week it was warm out, it was the first big game of the year and there was a lot going on besides the game itself (College Gameday coming, ESPN’s Rob Stone camping out, etc.), and despite what happened last year the venom just isn’t there for Iowa or anyone else like it is for OSU. It seems like the campers this week are much more focused and excited for the game, and the intensity is definitely up a notch from any campout I’ve experienced so far.
The blue band comes down most nights
NWO: What can students camping out this week expect?

JT: I think students camping out this week should expect it to be a really fun and exciting week but definitely more relaxed than the Iowa campout. We expect to have visitors, as always, and that will certainly have people pumped up. As usual, the Drumline will be in full effect throughout the week as well.

Ed. note: Another Paternoville tradition is for players and coaches to visit the campers, and for local businesses to bring by food. It’s a party every night, and even if you don’t want to camp out, you should come down and join in the fun.

NWO: If you could send a message to all 22,000 students heading to the game on Saturday, what would it be?

JT: My message to the student section this week would be: COME EARLY!!! We need to fill up the student section EARLY and get the energy level to a fever pitch by kickoff and keep it going all day. When OSU is on offense the noise needs to start as soon as they huddle up through when the ball is snapped. And don’t forget to wear white!

NWO: Let’s hear your prediction for the game this Saturday.

JT: I predict a tough, hard-fought, old school OSU-PSU matchup. Both teams have smothering defenses and a solid running game, and both have two of the best coaches in the nation on the sidelines. I think it comes down to the quarterbacks, and I love our chances. PSU 20 OSU 16

My group's tent, for last year's Illinois game
My group's tent, for last year's Illinois game

Here’s a video that gives you the whole Paternoville experience:

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  • MeghanB

    Nice work Devon. John Decce does so much to get Paternoville running smoothly, its hard for the common observer to understand what goes behind the scenes. Great read.

  • MeghanB

    Nice work Devon. John Decce does so much to get Paternoville running smoothly, its hard for the common observer to understand what goes behind the scenes. Great read.