This blog was written by Chris Kelly, associate vice president for university marketing and communication
Pittsburg State University has a special place in my heart when it comes to football, but probably not for the reasons you think. It wasn’t until 1991, my first year as a Gorilla, that I feel like I truly experienced a football game.
Oh, I had attended a lot of games before that year, but I didn’t truly experience football until I stepped into Carnie Smith Stadium.
The stadium looked much different back then. There were no guest suites, no turf or Jungletron and the east side featured metal bleachers on a single level. But it had one important thing in common with the beautiful stadium we have today … it was filled with Gorillas.
I was immediately embraced as a member of the family, and quickly learned what it meant to be a Gorilla. I learned the power of the “Pitt … State” chant, the importance of cheering for our defense, not just on third down … but on every down, and of course, how to properly make noise with a bare hand and a metal bleacher.
It was an incredible feeling and I soon discovered that this community's support for “my” university wasn’t limited to Saturday’s in the fall. I would experience it every day during my years as an undergraduate.
This week the community has come forward to show its support for its university through the “Paint the Town Red” celebration. It’s a wonderful celebration that is uniquely Pittsburg. My heart swells with pride when I see so many Gorillas decorating the walls of our businesses, restaurants, elementary schools and homes.
This Saturday, fans will again come together at Carnie Smith Stadium. For thousands, it will be the first time they attend a game on campus ... and the first time they experience what it truly means to be part of the Gorilla family.
I’ll see you at the game.