Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Homecoming and Happiness

There are two places I've found on earth that I feel alive, in every cheesy and honest sense of the word. The first is New York. The second? State College, PA.

This year's Penn State homecoming festivities couldn't have come at a better time. After not much more than 24 hours, I felt refreshed--and even more so on Sunday morning, when I finally hit the "reset" button on my watch to erase my marathon time, as I headed out on a 13-mile run around town and campus, relishing the cool air and the old, familiar sites.

When I had made my plans many months ago to be there for the weekend, I had envisioned being fresh off my one-and-only fall marathon, ready to let loose and celebrate. That didn't turn out to be the case, but it didn't matter.

On Saturday morning I parked my car at the Nittany Lion Inn, eager to find my friends as soon as possible. I walked less than ten paces and found four of them sitting on the porch, regrouping before heading to tailgates at the stadium. It's as if we never left the place.

Maybe it's no coincidence that the places I feel most confident, comfortable, and invigorated happen to be where I am afforded the most quality time with my closest friends. What was a saying a couple of months ago about wanting Beach Week to last forever? I'm sensing a common theme here. But when you're lucky enough to have stumbled upon a posse of extraordinary people--the kind who know you inside and out and actually still love you anyway--you hang on to them as tight as you can.

So while Penn Sate football weekends have changed over the years--beer bottles comingling with baby bottles, for example--there's still nothing better than being home, with all the people who make it feel that way.

Oh, the the crushing of Wisconsin on the football field wasn't too shabby either.

We are...Penn State.


1 comment:

John DiMeo said...

Hi Erin. Kristin Nightwine (I worked with Erik) contacted me and let me know you're running the Philly marathon in November and told me that I should get in touch with you to offer pointers. I've run Philly 6 or 7 times and would be more than happy to talk to you about the race and what to expect. I'll be running it again this year, too. You can reach me at JDiMeo (at) WLGore (dot) com (spelled here to restrict spam)
Sorry to hear you suffered in the fiasco that was the Chicago marathon. What a disappointing day.