Hey there Penn State sports fans! David Pencek, editor of Town & Gown magazine, has just published a book about the top moments, players, and many other interesting facts about Penn State sports. David will be speaking at Schlow this Thursday (Sept 1) at 7 p.m. Come learn about his research for the book and debate about what you think should have been in there!
“The Great Book of Penn State Sports Lists,” by Matthew Pencek and David Pencek, Running Press, 2011
Anyone who has ever gotten into a spirited discussion of Penn State sports – you know who you are, and your numbers are legion – probably will need several copies of this book. The first will be damaged beyond utility by banging it on tabletops (or your
companions) while making a point, or smeared with food at tailgates, and the second will be for the permanent home library.
This book will help to begin or end arguments, being a lively compendium of the factual and the quirky from several dozen contributors with good claims to being experts about various PSU sports (not only football) and sports-related topics. PSU defensive lineman and later four-time Super Bowl winner Matt Millen
relates lessons he learned from Joe Paterno; All-American offensive tackle Dave Joyner lists five reasons why Paterno’s “Grand Experiment” of combining good football with good students has worked; and football team physician Dr. Wayne Sebastianelli supplies his list (painful reading) of top eleven comebacks from injuries sustained in PSU
football, basketball, fencing, swimming, gymnastics, and soccer.
Lydell Mitchell reminisces about his three Nittany Lion seasons with Franco Harris, a pairing that surely was made in some football heaven. Joe Bastardi, first a PSU wrestler and then a noted meteorologist, contributes a very funny list of the top ten (plus one honorable mention) “memorable weather games.”
Well-thumbed and debatable parts of the book will surely include the list of “Most Memorable Calls,” by Steve Jones, the longtime play-by-play “voice of Penn State sports”; the “Greatest Quarterback Controversies” section; and probably even the lists of best pizzas, bars, and Creamery ice cream flavors.
The book is divided into sections of no more than three or four pages each, perfect for quick reads, but likely to turn into extended reading because the content is so much fun, interesting to anyone who knows and loves Penn State in general, not just its sports in particular.
Penn State fans will give copies to one another as gifts, always a comical situation, but useful in this instance, as each will have one to refer to when the squabble begins over which was the most thrilling ending, the most heartbreaking loss, the best bowl victory.
Think about a copy for the young fans in your circle, too – it’s exactly the type of book that will lure a self-described non-reader into devouring it, word for word. The material is interesting and often funny, and it’s well-written but not pedantic (no mistaking it for a school text). Plus, for Centre County kids, it has the great appeal of being local history!
Kitty Wunderly lives in Bellefonte. She is the author of a book, “Bellefonte and the Early Air Mail, 1918-1927.”
Meet The Great Book of Penn State Lists author David Pencek at 7:00pm on Thursday, September 1st at Schlow Centre Region Library. David stands ready to defend his lists – and hear your alternatives! Free to the public, this is a great way to kick off the opening of football season. Copies of the book will be available for sale and signing.