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Monday, November 14, 2011

Penn State, Part IV: the End

Well, hopefully it is my end to all this.  I believe it is best from here on out to let the others examine the debacle, the mess that is Penn State University today.

But I must put forth a parting shot or two...because I can.

As I'd mentioned, I ended up spending the weekend working at WITF and doing updates for KYW, so the hard task to going to (Un)Happy Valley to cover the game was left to one of our stringers. 

Turns out one of WITF's news people also went up there.  Mary Wilson dropped in after she finally got out of there, none the worse for wear.

My main interest in going was to gauge the atmosphere, and how different it must have felt.

A little over a year ago, I made my first foray up there for the Temple game.  It was without doubt a day for fun, tailgating, beer, food, and football.  Penn State does know how to do it up right.

Considering the Sandusky scandal, the firing of Graham Spanier and Joe Paterno, and the outpouring of hero-worshipping for the latter, I had to wonder how it went.

Mary told me that for the most part, that atmosphere was the same.  People were trying to treat it as if it were just another day of fun, and to get cranked up to do battle with Nebraska.

The difference was that for the first time in 46 years, JoePA would not be patrolling the sidelines or up in the press box.  It would be the first time in 61 years that Paterno would not be involved.  That was clearly a difference.

We watched the game...PSU as expected had its problems with the Cornhuskers, but they mounted a comeback with nearly 108-thousand faithful, all in blue and white urged their gladiators on.

They almost pulled it off, too; Nebraska held on for a 17-14 win.  A good game, and I'm sure it was exciting as hell.

But the hurt hasn't gone away, and probably won't for a very long time.

In my view:  good.

There is a very large population of people who need to gain a little maturity, and fast. 

Mary reported that the hostility to the press was there, though nothing happened to her...apart from a few people who made it clear that anyone with a mic or a pad and pen were THE ENEMY.

There's a lot of Penn State faithful still drinking the blue and white Kool-Aid; they think it's all a farce, that JoePA is a martyr, and that THE ENEMY, that amorphous whateveritis they think it is, has conspired to bring down the Almighty JoePA, and destroying the myth of "We Are Penn State."
Too bad for you.  You put your faith in a football coach and his concept; while that might be a good set of rules to largely live by, it cannot and must not be your religion.

Also, to model your own lives and way of being after someone not related to you, someone who does something as innocuous as being a coach of a football team, it's not good.  You deny who you are to yourself.

Oh, but they sure tried, didn't they?

That big ol' prayer mosh pit at the 50 yard line...wonder who in the PR department dreamed that one up?

I don't mean to be cynical, but did they have to do that?  I want to hope all the guys that went out and did that little kneel-down, meant it.  I'm sure most of them did.

Then on Sunday, oh joy...(yeah, right)...one of the local TV stations ran a clip of some kind of hideous worship service, complete with karaoke screens of the faithful singing happy happy joy joy songs of praise and healing.

Sorry, but even if you were serious and meant it, it looks bad.  It looks so staged and planned out.

Then...oh yes, the pilgrimage continued, streams of the faithful headed to JoePA's modest ranch house near the university.  People leaving flowers, all kinds of stuff, etc.

They are paying respects to a man who lost his job, and a man I'm sure they all respect and admire...

...FOR WHAT?

Coaching a football team for a very long time, and doing admittedly a very good job of it?

I didn't see any more of those goobs praying to the front door, thankfully.  That was pathetic, and shows that allegience to a higher power apparently means allegience to a human representative on Earth, in their genius.

And of course the grumping, harumphing and complaining will continue; Governor Tom Corbett (wait for it...SPACE CADET!), who was Atty. General when the Sandusky investigation began, had to hurl another two cents in there (like anyone really cares what he says, anyway) about the bail, the judge, the this, the that.

You sure didn't get the job done before you made that little run for the Gov's office, did you, sir?  And by the way, why are YOU commenting on a case that hasn't even gone to trial?  Isn't that a bit unfair?

Well, let's leave the wanking in public to the media pontificators, the ones who don't have to actually check sources and do any work for a living.

Now that all said:  here is a very interesting story I found today...

http://nbcsports.msnbc.com/id/45283472/ns/sports-college_football/

Take a good read at that.

A former coach, with no specific ties to Penn State, who was on the inside and offering perspective from a number of legitimate angles he knows all about.

One little teaser, which this fellow makes very clear:

"JOE KNOWS EVERYTHING."

Paterno's grip on the football program, and every aspect of it, is the stuff of legend.  No matter how old he is, Joe knows what is going on.  Here now is a confirmation.

Even if Joe still didn't fully appreciate the seriousness of what Sandusky is alleged to have done, there is a right and wrong way to do stuff. 

It so flies in the face of what Paterno normally would have, and anyone else, would have done.

I will have to, as part of my job, continue to watch out for all this.  Not that I enjoy it; I don't suck all this up like a greedy creature of habit.  It's become so fucking pathetic, and sad.

Whatever...I hope I don't need to write or do anymore of this.  I hope for a few things:

--those alleged victims, that they get the help and support they need, and the redress they should have. 

--their people also can find some way to heal.

--that PSU can right its ship, and show the world that they are indeed about academics, and that the sports programs can be put in perspective, where they belong. 

--that the legions of blue and white can get over their shock, and realize that they have lives to lead, and that who they are is not necessarily completely defined by where they went to school.  It's a part of them, sure; but before and after is a part of each person, and I hope that when they chant, "We Are Penn State," that they can do it with pride...but not foolish, fanatical pride.

There's a difference.

Get me outta here.

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