The last few months attending swing dance events as a Penn State student has been awkward and downright frustrating at times. I’ve had people literally in the middle of dances try to bring up the topics such as the Sandusky scandal or my opinion on the former coach Joe Paterno. It got to the point that when deciding what shirts I wanted to wear to dances, time would be spent pondering not wearing one of my Penn State Swing Dance club t-shirts just to avoid the potential hassling that came along with it.
At least for myself, swing dancing is at times an escapist activity for me where I can free my stresses of my daily life whether that be bugs while programming or a tragedy that has befallen my beloved town of State College and many innocent victims. Underclassmen who I teach dance lessons to on a regular basis travel with us to large events, where we are recognized as a group from Penn State. I loathe the idea of them having to deal with this at an event such as Boston Tea Party. With Paterno’s recent death, I fear that this pestering that has quieted down recently may intensify again. The last thing I want, even more then being hassled myself, is my students who to go to an event to have fun and learn from the international Lindy Hop community… to be reminded of the troubles from home.
I apologize if this comes off as a bit of a soapbox rant, but all I can ask is take some consideration before you bring up things in conversation, this goes especially for in the middle of a dance. This just doesn’t apply to just talking to Penn State students and alumni, but anyone who is dealing with unpleasant circumstances.
Thanks for reading.