A few months ago, my sister began classes at Penn State as the third and final child in my family to attend college. She was excited about many things as she prepared to leave, including getting to go to Penn State football games.
Now she and I spend some time talking about Nittany Lion football and I'm finding myself becoming not so much a fan of Penn State but a slightly bigger fan of Big Ten football. I've watched the Big Ten Network with my father and checked out the conference's standings on ESPN.com in addition to my talks with my sister. These certainly aren't drastic life changes, but I've definitely tweaked the way I pay attention to sports because of where my sister's going to school.
And changing the college football teams I pay attention to definitely isn't a new phenomenon for me. As a sophomore in high school I used to scan the bottom line of a sports channel (I can't quite remember which channel it was, but it had to be ESPN, right?) for scores of UPenn, Dartmouth, and Wagner games. I had friends at each school, some of whom were members of the football teams at their respective colleges.
Later on, after a four-year football career at Division III McDaniel College, I went to Boston University for graduate school and found myself checking the results of McDaniel's games.
So maybe I shouldn't be surprised that I've begun to pay more attention to the Big Ten, not after I've made slight changes to the way I follow college football in the past. I have to admit, though, that I'm nervous about my other sister starting graduate school at Boston College. You see, Terriers and Eagles typically don't get along, especially when it comes to ice hockey. I may have a dilemma on my hands.