Friday, January 27, 2012


... to the new normal. Again. Every time I say what ELSE can happen, I find out. And it is never good. I cannot describe what it feels like for an entire community to be hit in the belly over and over. This new normal sucks. Really sucks. And I fear it is only just beginning.

Paterno was a good man, some will tell you great. He put his money and actions where his mouth was. He was smart, sarcastic, competitive, and meant what he said. He was also "untouchable"... until November. I won't rehash, or take back, what I've already written. I still think it's valid. However, he built something here that will not be replaced, and should be acknowledged. Many times I've attended sessions and meetings in the high tech auditorium and reading rooms in the Paterno Library. It is gorgeous. Many students are benefiting from the Paterno Fellowships, in Liberal Arts. My spidey sense tells me that there will be a cancer wing with the Paterno name on it at the medical center in the near future. (A wing is already under construction.) And most certainly the new Penn State Catholic Center and Chapel, also under construction with a large gift already from the Paternos, will be similarly titled. And this does not account for all their contributions to Special Olympics, THON, etc. There is no other athletic coach in history who has contributed this much for the greater good outside his/her sport. None.

So I fervently wish that the coach who, by all accounts went the "extra mile" for his players, staff, students and university, had also gone the extra mile back in 2002. Realistically, I understand why he probably didn't. One just wants to put something so heinous away from themselves as fast as possible. Do the appropriate thing and move on, fast - but it wasn't enough. The beleaguered board of trustees, did the right thing, in a ham fisted way. I can't blame them either, considering the circumstances of that week. 

 I have one memory of running into him, many years ago, after a football game. He was walking home from the locker rooms. DH and I just said "Hi, Coach", he said, "Howya' doin'?" No biggie, and I hadn't thought of it in years, until you start hearing the stories of the students who were thrilled when he barked at them "Get to class!", when they greeted him.

So the era ends. We knew it would. I wish the circumstances were different.

1 comment:

kemtee said...

I think that's the best assessment I've read so far.

I've hated listening to or reading any of the talk of his passing for a lot of reasons. Mostly because decades of hard work and dedication seem to be so easily swept away by one stinking incident, until people lose sight of who really was responsible for said incident. And that just makes me mad.

I hope things settle down for everyone now, especially the Paterno family.