Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Observations on JoePa

I wasn't planning on writing more about the passing of Joe Paterno even though I know I could. I could write to try and help you understand why we Penn State alumni feel the way we do but at times it seems a totally hopeless proposition. Than I came across this column by Bill Lyon of the Philadelphia Inquirer and it just made me think, from the first paragraph to the haunting question at its end, it made me think about Paterno's death in a way I hadn't done before. It really is worth reading the entire column but I'm just posting the beginning and end here because they are the two parts that I just can't get out of my head. The two parts that seem to sum it all up. (full column here)

"Once upon a time in the Valley called Happy, there lived a man with monarch powers. And with these powers he bestowed upon the Valley great wealth and fame and philanthropy and enviable reputation, and buildings for football warriors and diligent scholars....

....And here, finally, is the chilling question, the one that you dread giving voice to, the one that sits on your shoulder making you squirm, the one that will haunt you for a long, long time: Did Penn State kill Joe Paterno?"

Joe Paterno was laid to rest late Wednesday after two days of public viewings at the Pasquerilla Spiritual Center which his donations had funded. An estimated 30,000 people stood in freezing temperatures to file through, lines so long the doors had been opened a half hour early. A private service followed than the funeral procession wound through State College, past the Paterno Library, and finally past Beaver Stadium, its parking lots once again full, and a lone blue and white tent representing Paternoville. A sign held outside the stadium read “We Are Because You Were.” Joe Paterno won 409 games as head coach of the Nittany Lions, 409 wins at one school, something that never will be repeated.

Over the past couple months I have tried to explain to numerous friends why I, why we, feel the way we do. I'm not sure I ever succeeded completely. Late today fellow Penn State graduate Becky Murdy put better than I ever have when she posted this on twitter, "From the outside looking in, you can't understand it. From the inside looking out, you can't explain it."

Goodbye JoePa, You will be, are, missed.

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