Founder and former CEO of Apple, Steve Jobs once said, "Why join the Navy if you can be a pirate?"
Of course, what he meant to say is "Why cheer for the Irish or Hoosiers if you can be a Boilermaker?" Well, I'm at least 8% sure that's what he meant.
See, in Indiana it's easy to be a Notre Dame and/or IU fan but it's much more fun to be a Boilermaker. How do I know? Because I am one. And before you start calling me biased (which I am), give me a chance to explain my completely unbiased (read: biased) point of view.
I was born a Hoosier - both literally and figuratively. Being born in Indianapolis with a Mother who was an IU graduate, it was easy for me to cheer for the Hoosiers and so I did, briefly. Thankfully, I grew out of that stage of my life with a lot of help from my dad - a Boilermaker graduate. There's a saying that some of us Boilers like, "Hoosier by birth, but Boilermaker by the grace of God."
The Boilermaker nickname is different which is fitting because it takes a different type of person to don the Old Gold and Black. It started as insult by a rival newspaper and just seemed to stick. Purdue took pride in the grungy, blue-collar, tough-nosed mentality.
Being a Boilermaker is not about being glamorous or sexy. It's about working your gold and black trousers off and being proud of your roots. Being a Purdue fan is not something that most people do unless they actually attended Purdue. It makes the Boilermaker bandwagon a small but extremely tight-knit group. The same can't be said for many of our in-state rivals. If you travel outside of Big Ten Country, most people can't even tell you what state Purdue is in.
So what does it mean to be a Boilermaker? It means you're probably going to be looked down upon, but you're okay with that. In fact, you revel in the opportunity to prove people wrong. It means you're going to suffer heartbreak. It means someone's eyebrows will raise when you tell them, "I go/went to Purdue." It means that if you go down, you're going down swinging. Purdue knows the great triumphs of victory and at the very least, if we fail, we fail while daring greatly.
Being a Boilermaker is something special. It's unique, it's exciting, it's not always easy but it brings a great sense of pride. Being a Boilermaker might be tough but damn, it can be a lot of fun. So I ask, why join the others if you can be with the Boilers.
Until next time, Ever Grateful, Ever True. Boiler Up, Hammer Down and Hail Purdue!
The Big Ten's Honoring Legends. Building Leaders. Mobile Tour comes to West Lafayette on Thursday! View the schedule below to see where the RV will be when it's on the Purdue campus:
Thursday, September 15
Noon - 4 p.m. ET
Friday, September 16
10:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. ET
5 - 5:45 p.m. ET
Boiler Bridge Walk
6 - 7 p.m. ET
Lafayette Savings Bank Parking Lot
Saturday, September 17
9 a.m. - Noon and 3 - 4 p.m. ET
Slayter Center on Stadium Avenue
More information: http://www.purduesports.com/sports/m-footbl/spec-rel/091311aab.html
Learn more about me: Intro video