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Rooting for the Home TeamSport, Community, and Identity$
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Daniel A. Nathan

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780252037610

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252037610.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM ILLINOIS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.illinois.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Illinois University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ISO for personal use.date: 30 June 2022

American Brigadoon

American Brigadoon

Joe Paterno’s Happy Valley

(p.157) 10. American Brigadoon
Rooting for the Home Team

David W. Zang

University of Illinois Press

This chapter examines the ways in which Penn State University football “fans draw their sense of community from the shared belief that Happy Valley is not only a mythic place, but a singularly righteous one as well.” It puts legendary coach Joe Paterno at the center of the narrative and sees “Happy Valley as a fantastical American Brigadoon” that may vanish after him. The State College, Pennsylvania, area acquired the “Happy Valley” nickname because of its seeming immunity to the economic misery of the Great Depression. Paterno came to State College as an assistant coach in 1950. Four years later, Brigadoon debuted in American movie theaters. It was the tale of an enchanted village that appeared once every hundred years; by covenant, if anyone left, the village would disappear forever. This chapter discusses Paterno's success with Penn State's football team and argues that he has done far more good for the game and for Penn State than he can possibly undo in his fading years.

Keywords:   community, Penn State University football, Happy Valley, Joe Paterno, Pennsylvania, Brigadoon, State College

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