Blue and red. Red and blue.
We live in a time and a place where those are colors that can divide people deeply. They can cut across family lines and make for uncomfortable home lives.
And they can really lead to some smack talk at a tailgate.
Oh, wait. Did you think this was about politics? No, no, no. This is about something important. Something that matters in our daily lives.
This is about football.
On Saturday, Penn State’s boys in blue will host the red-clad Ohio State Buckeyes for the annual clash that probably matters more to most Nittany Lion fans than a bowl game.
It’s almost impossible to cheer for one side without condemning the other, even when it comes to close relationships.
In my family, if you went to college, you went to Penn State. We bleed blue and we are unapologetic about it. We wish biblical plagues upon the Buckeyes and would gleefully root for the devil if he was playing against Urban Meyer’s team.
But my mother is a twin. Her stunt double lives in Ohio. Her family is blood red to their marrow. They crow about their team’s victories and championships loud and long, and are just as vociferous in their aspersions against the Lions.
It’s worse for my friend Yvonne. She lives in a home that is happy for 51 weeks of the year. But when she puts on her red jersey and her husband puts on his blue one for the annual battle, all bets are off. They know where their loyalties lie.
We are committed camps and mirrors of each other. We will admit no failing of our own team and find no end of fault with the other side. Every call against us was wrong, a sham, out-and-out proof of conspiracy and double-dealing. Every failure to penalize the other side brings howls of blindness and bribery.
But before the heady bloodlust of battle sets in at kick-off, allow me to make a little confession.
We’re both wrong.
It pains me to my soul to say it, but Ohio State is not inherently evil. Neither is Penn State. Red or blue, both sides are made up of good people and bad people, saints and sinners, but overall, just people trying to do exactly the same things.
They are playing a game, or they are watching the game and celebrating the wins and gnashing their teeth over the losses.
Red or blue, blue or red, everything is the same except which team you love and which team you love to hate. That, and deciding that ultimately, not much matters except what the final score is this time, and either getting even or keeping a streak going for the next time you butt helmets.
Huh. I guess maybe this was about politics after all.
Lori Falce is the Tribune-Review
Community Engagement Editor.