Thursday, November 17, 2011

Penn State Sadness

This past weekend Mike headed up to Penn State with our brother-in-law for the Penn State vs. Nebraska game.  This trip had been planned for months, and they were both so excited to go. 

Then last week, the news came out that rocked us all to the core.  The sexual abuse allegations against former defensive coordinator, Jerry Sandusky are sickening and horrifying.  And then to hear that so many people with power at Penn State knew that these things had happened/were happening to young children, and did not make sure it was stopped, is heartbreaking.

Last week was such an emotional one for all of us and Mike and I took it pretty hard.  I cried several times.  The allegations came out.... and then Joe Pa was fired.  I couldn't believe it.  I had a lot of mixed emotions about that, as I'm sure a lot of us Penn Staters did.  Should he have done more?  Absolutely.  No question about it.  He could have, and should have, made sure that Jerry Sandusky was stopped.  But to see a coach that I have idolized my whole life, a coach that has done so, so much good for the school that I love, be fired after 61 years - well, that was just plain sad to see.  It's such a tragic end to an otherwise wonderful career.  Despite all of the good that Joe Paterno has done, his reputation is forever tarnished, and that's heartbreaking.

I am sad for Penn State, I am sad for Joe Paterno and his legacy, but most of all, I am sad for the victims.  The many innocent children who were violated by a man they trusted.  I haven't read the grand jury report and don't know that I will.  Mike has read it, all 23 pages, and said that it is graphic and truly disturbing.  He thinks I should read it, but I don't know that I need the specifics.  We'll see. 

I read something written by another Penn Stater that sums up my feeling pretty well.  I'm not sure who wrote this, but I like it and here it is:


We know you don't understand. Generally, we don't try to explain. Unless you are a Buckeye or Fighting Irish, you probably don't get how an institution embeds itself in a student's life. And that is fine.

But right now, we want you to know this:

We are distraught and truly sickened by this horror perpetrated on young victims by one who represented the Blue and White, and perpetuated by others at the University. We aren't blind followers who drink Blue Kool-Aid. We grieve for and with the victims and their families. We pray for them to find healing and peace and a way to live a good life.

We know that while many people had responsibility, the most visible one almost always goes down first. We are not disputing the need for this to happen.

We are not "defending" anything. We are simply crushed and heartbroken. This is not the Penn State we love, the Penn State that is part of our being.

What you know of Joe Paterno probably comes from television or magazine articles.

We know the man who has lived in the same McKee St house for decades. We have chatted with him as he walked to practice. We have eaten ice cream with him at the Creamery. We have studied in the new library wing his money helped build. We have visited the sports museum and spiritual center he also helped build. We have seen him cheering on other Penn State athletes. We know he loves Penn State as much as we do.

 Some of our friends, brothers, husbands, sons have been privileged to put on the Blue and White uniform and listen to 100,000 fans in Beaver Stadium. We know how hard they have worked, how much time they have devoted, how many of them have been part of an excellent scholar/athlete legacy...and how much they love this man and this program.

We aren't stupid or naive. We know Joe Paterno has culpability. We know he could have made different choices - he admitted that. We don't think he is God or always perfect or saintly. But he is the greatest college football coach ever, and he is PSU family, and we don't want his exit to be like this.

WE ARE...not closing our eyes, ignoring reports, pretending this isn't a wretched occurrence.  

WE ARE...angry that innocents would be violated under our care.

WE support of appropriate punishment for every person involved.

WE ARE...demanding change to a system that would allow this.

WE ARE...not concerned if you do not understand our love and devotion.

WE ARE...PENN STATE proud and we will rise again.

These words ring true for me.  Especially that last part.  WE ARE.... PENN STATE proud and we will rise again.

Addy and I watched the Penn State game this past Saturday from home here in NC and I took a video of her and got her waving on camera for the first time!  Check it out:

WE ARE....!


  1. We are!! Addy's like - this dang skirt, gets in my way when I'm crawling:)

  2. I love this post! Yay for Addy and her waving and crawling, even with a skirt! I love what you posted about Penn State. You're right, it was all summed up really well in that post.