Wednesday, November 9, 2011

May No Act Of Ours Bring Shame...

As a Penn State grad, a season ticket holder for football, a THON alum and a life-long fan of Joe Paterno, this has been a mind blowing couple of days. Based on the information the public has been given thus far, my disappointment in the actions of several key officials at my University is endless. It sickens me to think they tried to sweep these horrific violations of children under the rug. Despite the amount of knowledge each of them had, it was still a piece to that Sandusky puzzle and I believe they ALL could have done more. We don’t have all the answers yet and we may never get them, but those are my feelings right now: anger, disappointment, frustration and still a tiny bit of denial. To me, Penn State has always been perfect. State College is a perfect college town (especially since replacing the “Hooters” restaurant with that silly Irish pub); the football program (despite little hiccups and some poorly played seasons) has always been perfect; the over crowded, teeny tiny dorms that ALWAYS smelled like urine or pine sol have always been perfect; the ridiculously long walk on freezing cold February mornings at 8am to a class on the opposite side of campus that is a requirement even though you will NEVER use it in your career has always been perfect; even the terrible leg room in the lecture halls at the Forum Building have always been perfect. Today, even with my “PSU Pride” blinders on, I have to admit that Joe Paterno is not perfect, and that kills a little bit.

Last year I was in Beaver Stadium to watch Joe win his 400th game. My sister and I were sitting next to one another, bawling our eyes out during Joe’s post-game speech. I will never forget Deb turning to me and saying, “He’s everyone’s dad!” We laughed really hard at that, but truly it was how everyone in that stadium felt. “Our” dad, our pride & joy, had accomplished an amazing thing. I will admit that earlier this year, I was questioning whether or not Joe should still be our coach. I was questioning his health (he’s 84 for god’s sake!) and I was questioning his (and his son’s) indecision about our quarterbacks. At the time, these seemed like REALLY important things; little did I know that in just a few weeks I would be questioning the morals of Joe Paterno. Even typing that right now seems surreal.
It has just been announced that Joe Paterno plans to retire at the end of this season. Well needless to say, this is not what I pictured the day of his retirement announcement to be like. I always imagined Joe’s last game would be horribly sad for the school, losing our leader, but we’d be so filled of pride too. Now, it will be sad for a different reason and I’m not sure how much pride I’ll be able to muster up by this Saturday. I still love him (and his coke bottle glasses) and am proud of all the wonderful things he & his wife have done for our school over the years, but he’s failed us here. Our leader has let us down, and it’s not something that is easily (or ever) replaced.

When I was 6 years old and my brother was a freshman at Penn State, I learned all the words to the alma mater. For 20 some years I’ve joined in singing that song before every home game. “May no act of ours bring shame” Anyone who violates that does not deserve to be a part of our Penn State family. And somehow, I think Joe Paterno has gotten himself into that category.

We’ll miss you Joe, but it’s time for us to hold you to the same standard you always held us to. This doesn’t erase all the wonderful things you’ve done, but it still is apart of your history now at Penn State and we can’t ignore that. God bless you and your family in your retirement and god bless all the children & families affected by this tragedy. Jerry Sandusky- I have nothing to say except I hope they’re getting your place ready in hell.
Go State, Beat Nebraska!

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