Blue White Illustrated

November 2021

Penn State Sports Magazine

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Page 61 of 67

6 2 N O V E M B E R 2 0 2 1 W W W . B L U E W H I T E O N L I N E . C O M THE ROAD LESS TRAVELED Preceding PSU's raucous arrival at Beaver Stadium is a roundabout tour of the pastures on the edge of campus L O U P R ATO | LOUPRATO@COMCAST.NET W hite Out crowds and those blue-and-white jerseys with- out players' names are among the most famous Penn State football game-day traditions, but the blue buses that bring the team to Beaver Stadium are part of the show, too. While the White Outs are a relatively new spectacle that started in 2004, the nameless uniforms trace back more than a century to 1908 and the blue buses to 1960. Nowadays, hundreds of fans congregate along Curtin Road to greet the team two to three hours before kickoff. Coach James Franklin gave the fan experience a Southeastern Conference twist a few years ago by adding a walk from the Porter Road intersection close to the student gate where the buses unload. Such walks are a ritual at many colleges, particularly in the SEC. Just how the buses reach that corner near the students' Nit- tanyville campout is a story in itself. When Beaver Stadium opened in September 1960 on the far western edge of campus where cows still were grazing, the buses were a necessity. Moving from Beaver Field near the Water Tower, which then served as the team's locker room, required the construction of a new football building and practice fields about an eighth of a mile south of the stadium along University Drive. The home team's locker room at the stadium was small and dank with few show- ers. So, a sizable dressing room was built in the new facility, which was rechristened the East Area Locker Room. Because of the barren and depressing condition of the origi- nal Beaver Stadium locker room, the football staff decided that players would put on their full uniforms at the East Area Locker Room and use the stadium dressing room for pregame and half- time meetings. The first bus and many others that followed were ordinary yellow school buses repainted dark blue. Thus, on Sept. 17, 1960, the blue buses loaded with players, coaches and staff made their maiden voyage, following a police es- cort through the crowds and traffic to the west side of the stadium, arriving at a gate not far from where the ADA entrance is today. "We didn't think much about riding the buses at the time," Hank Opperman, captain of the 1960 team, told me a few years ago. "We had to do it because we no longer had the locker room in

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