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OTB Staff Round Table: Why We Are Thankful For Rutgers

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On this Thanksgiving, we appreciate our beloved school.

Indiana v Rutgers Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

David Anderson: To state the obvious, my parents met at Rutgers. So without RU, there would be no me and my endless commentary. Sports are a medium where as fans we can pour a ton of energy and win or lose our actual life is the same tomorrow ... usually. The 2006 RU-Louisville game is not the best day of my life (that would have to be any day from my entire wedding week), but is absolutely the most vindicated I have ever felt. All the losses that came with being college football’s doormat, cupcake, patsy whatever term you want to use during the 1990s was temporarily erased. For the first time, not only did we have hope, we had wins to show for it! Talking up Fred Hill Sr. or the women’s basketball success just doesn’t have the impact to the average sports fan that a Men’s basketball Sweet 16 appearance (One day Aaron!) or ANY big football win does. And for Rutgers fans, that was THE win.

RutgersNation86: As a diehard Rutgers fan I am thankful for Pat Hobbs. He has done more for Rutgers Athletics in less then a year than many of his predecessors accomplished in their entire tenure on the banks. He knows the investment needed to make Rutgers competitive in all sports and has shown the ability to pry open alumni’s wallets, which we all know has been tough for those who have come before him. Lastly, I am thankful for all of the friendships garnered during my time at Rutgers and spending Saturdays in the Scarlet Lot with those same friends just like old times.

Bob Cancro: Now, don’t tell me I’m getting all political because of what I’m going to write. When I started at Rutgers College, the university was a smaller place. Maybe a bit more personal than the 60,000 student behemoth it is today. But it was a place that was evolving, maybe grudgingly and in fits and starts, but changing. It was a place where thinking mattered - I hope it still does. It was a place where a very conservative economics professor like Sydney Simon could be on the same faculty as the liberal Warren Sussman and get along; not necessarily agree but converse and debate intelligently. And walk out none the worse for wear. I could be in my ROTC uniform, post-1970 Cambodian invasion, watch my more radical friends run in protest at Military Field Day and get arrested, and still talk with them afterward. It was all good, all accepting. Rutgers made you think. Thank you, Alma Mater.

Cara Sanfilippo: As I reflect on my time at Rutgers, I am thankful that it proved me wrong. I thought going to Rutgers was a consolation prize, and an answer to me not going into major debt getting an Education degree at Boston University. As are most sheltered 18 year olds, I was wrong. I am thankful to Rutgers for giving me the best 4 years of my life, and for the best friends a girl could have. I am thankful that Rutgers didn’t allow its students to take the easy way out, because yes the famous RU screw does exist. Great professors and courses aside, that helped prepare me for the real world. I am thankful to Rutgers for teaching me about football, perseverance, and character, and leading me to the opportunity to write for this blog. Lastly, I am thankful for my beloved Scarlet Knights for always giving me something to root for and in which I can bElieve. With the help of Pat Hobbs, Chris Ash, and the rest of the athletic staff, I know we will get back to national recognition someday. And I cannot wait to rush the field the way I did for the Louisville and South Florida wins when it happens. On that note, I was thankful to find this gem when I was cleaning yesterday, and a reminder that we can have success:

Rutgers Football in Better Times

Matthew Pisani: I am thankful for Rutgers for numerous reasons. First and foremost being the education and the experiences I had while studying there in my undergraduate years. To my girlfriend and my fraternity brothers both with us and gone, thank you for everything. Being from Connecticut, I never knew what to expect. The day I walked into band camp for the Marching Scarlet Knights was the day I knew I belonged. I played one year for the Marching Knights and then became a regular fixture in the student section the next several years. I am thankful Rutgers allowed me to see a President speak, and a historically important one at that. I am thankful that I was there throughout the entirety of Eric LeGrand’s injury. I was there at Metlife Stadium that terrible day and I was there and took a selfie on the day me and him both graduated from this wonderful school. It has only been two and a half years since graduation, but I cannot be more thankful for everything Rutgers has done for me and will keep doing for me in the future. Their football team may make me want to rip my hair out, but I will forever be faithful to this school in every way. I love Rutgers and could not be more thankful for this place as a whole.

Andy Egan: I’m thankful for the many wonderful Rutgers grads who are major parts of my life. My wife is a Rutgers grad, although I didn’t know her in college. Many friends, some of whom I ventured to Rutgers with, some of whom I met at Rutgers, and some of whom I met afterward, have blessed and enhanced my life in so many ways. My On the Banks friends and colleagues; lots of people I know only by Twitter handled, SB Nation logins, or Rivals names; and dozens of people I have met while tailgating all keep me laughing and share my passion for this great university (and it’s not-so-great-sometimes athletic teams). So I’m thankful for the one common element present in so many terrific people in my life -- a Rutgers education. Also: I’m thankful for Pat Hobbs. The man is a gangster, in all the best possible ways. I forgive him for his many years of misguided Seton Hall allegiance.

Dave White: Steve Pikiell.

Jim Hoffman: My life would be dramatically different were it not for Rutgers. I completed my masters and doctoral programs through the Graduate School of Education, and it opened doors in my professional life that would have remained closed without Rutgers. As an alum, my connection to Rutgers has grown each year. Even though I don’t live close to the campus I have a large number of friends, acquaintances, and connections that are among my most treasured. I have loved the growth of the program. I remember being excited when football (and then other programs) joined the Big East, as it raised the profile of Rutgers sports. Now, as a school in the Big Ten, with a great Athletic Director in Pat Hobbs, and coaches that are so impressive, including Chris Ash, Steve Pikiell, C. Vivian Stringer, Scott Goodale, just to name a few, it is verging on real greatness. Yep, I’m very thankful for Rutgers.

Griffin Whitmer: I am so incredibly thankful for Frat Pat Hobbs. I have had the pleasure of meeting him at a football game and taking a selfie with him as well as meeting him at the women’s soccer NCAA Tournament game and celebrating a goal with him and the Riot Squad. That game started at 5 pm and earlier that day he was at the Rutgers Michigan State football game and that game was in East Lansing, Michigan. His dedication to not only the Athletics program but to the students is incredible. At the end of the home football games, he rewards students who stayed for the whole game with various gift cards worth up to $50. He reaches out to various student life communities and makes an effort to be recognized and be a prominent figure on campus. He has the Athletics program going in the right direction and I couldn’t be more happy with him as the athletic director. I need to stop here because I really could go on all day about how thankful I am for him. I also need to give a special shoutout to Sarah Baumgartner, as she accompanies him almost everywhere he goes (He. Is. Everywhere), in addition to all of her incredible work raising money for athletics.

Aaron Breitman: I’m thankful for the time I spent at Rutgers as a child, as a student, and now for when I return as a proud alumnus. My experiences on campus and through rooting for our sports teams has been a major part of my life and always will be. I'm thankful to have the opportunity to express my passion for Rutgers through this site and to have this platform to unite so many others together to express their own passion. I'm thankful for our readers and our amazing staff. The sharing of ideas and opinions that happen on our site is a wonderful thing.

I'm thankful for the positive direction our athletic department has taken the past year under Pat Hobbs. On the sports field, better days are coming and the struggles we've experienced in the past will only make them that much sweeter. I’m thankful that I’m now hopeful for tangible reasons and not due to blind faith.

I'm thankful that the football program’s culture is being rebuilt under Chris Ash and scandals should be a thing of the past. The arrival of Steve Pikiell and the changes he has implemented in such a short time has been nothing short of amazing. Basketball has had so many painful years that I'm so thankful we have a team that's doing things the right way and is so much more fun to watch. I'm thankful for our women’s soccer and wrestling teams, who prove that Rutgers can be one of the best in any sport under the right leadership. Lastly, I'm thankful that this great institution has had such a big influence on shaping me into the man I am today.

Happy Thanksgiving from On The Banks!