Brandon Beachum
Originally uploaded by Mainline Mom

During an autograph signing session at the Blue/White game on Saturday, freshman Brandon Beachum came through our section with a big smile on his face. A guy in the crowd yelled “Brandon…is this better than high school or what?!” to which Brandon laughed and said “Yeah…way better than high school.” He was one of the only players who really looked like he was glad to be there and having a good time.

When you see these players running down the field in a big game scoring touchdowns…when you read their statistics in the newspaper and listen to Joe Paterno’s analysis of them…it’s hard to remember that they are just kids. Some of them only 17 or 18 years old. They have a lot on their shoulders, the attention of the entire Nittany Nation and even the global spotlight of the media.

But it was another group of kids on Saturday that caught my attention even more than the players. They had a lot of special recognition ceremonies all through the game, highlighting former Lions now in the NFL, highlighting the THON dancers and the homecoming committee, etc. But then they marched a group of high school seniors onto the field who have enlisted in the United States Army. The recited their oath of enlistment, or whatever you call it. I almost burst into tears. We tend to forget how YOUNG the soldiers are fighting for our freedom. What makes a 17 year old want to do that? I’m glad we have a military and someone is fighting for us, but it’s hard to imagine them being so young. I know how immature and inexperienced I was as a senior in high school…I guess maybe the military is the best place for some kids.

Well anyway, back to work for me. I would keep my kids at exactly the ages they are now if they would stay healthy!


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