Monday, January 23, 2012

We Are.......????

Courtesy of lobshots.com


It seems that in the wake of Joe Paterno’s death everyone has been weighing in with their opinion.  There are those who believe that JoePa walked on water, that St. Paterno IS Penn St.  On the other side there are those who think that he was just a man, a very flawed man at that.  Then there are also those who fall somewhere in between.  After much thought and consideration, I surprisingly fall closer to the first group than the second group.  Before I go any further let me preface this with the fact I am not a fan of Penn St. in any way, shape or form.  In fact I can be classified as Penn St. “hater” if you will.  

Courtesy of http://www.sbnation.com
As a coach, the man’s record speaks for itself.  62 years as a coach at Penn St. (assistant and head), 409 wins in 46 years as head coach (almost 9 wins a year), 37 bowl appearances with 24 victories, 3 Big Ten titles and 2 National Championships (pre BCS).  There’s no arguing those stats.  Sure there are those who question just how much input he had in recent years but that’s another topic for another blog post.  Besides, most people would love to just live to be in their 80s let alone walking the sidelines of a big time college football program.

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People argue that it’s the students and alumni that make Penn St. what it is.  They’re right.  What these people fail to realize is that JoePa helped to put Penn St. on the national map.  Many of those people who help to make Penn St. what it is may not have attended the university if it wasn’t for JoePa.  The man gave his life to Penn St. and has become a symbol of the university.  Did Joe not educate some of those students and alumni?  As an educator myself I believe that no matter how big or small, I have made an impact on every student that I have ever taught.  So if it is truly the people that make Penn St. what it is, then isn’t JoePa in some way responsible; no matter how big or small?

Coutesy of wikipedia.com
Everyone is bringing up the whole Sandusky situation and the way Joe reacted.  I do not think that this is an inappropriate time to bring it up, like some are arguing.  It is a part of the legacy of JoePa and when remembering the man’s life it’s more than appropriate.  I’ve thought long and hard about how I feel about his response.  In a recent interview Paterno said that he regretted not doing more.  I believe him.  I also believe that in his mind he did what he thought was the right thing.  He told his superiors, who should have handled the situation better.  We all have the benefit of hindsight.  Everyone can puff out their chest and say they’d do this or do that but until you’re truly in that position, you don’t know how you’d react.  Is Paterno 100% innocent in this fiasco?  Not by a long shot.  The Board completely handled the situation the wrong way.  Unfortunately there’s nothing that can be done about it now.  Hopefully they will do the right thing and give Paterno a fitting tribute in the future. 

Finally I’d like to respond to the people who are ripping the people who are “mourning” the loss of Paterno despite never meeting him.  Again, the man has meant so much for to the University.  No matter what you think of the man, he was a legend.  There are many people who went to Penn St. simply because of Paterno.  Sound crazy?  Not to me. The closet thing that I can compare it to in my life would be if John Chaney passed.  One of the reasons that I went to Temple was because of Chaney and the basketball team.  I will be very upset when Chaney passes away.  I’ve had the privilege to meet Coach on a few occasions and he was always willing to take time out to talk to you.  He genuinely cared.  I’ve heard the same in the stories about Joe Pa.  So I get and understand where the Penn St. faithful are coming from….which is saying something since I usually can’t stand the things they say or do.


Was Joe Paterno a saint as many from Happy Valley would have you believe?  No.  Paterno was just a man.  He was regular human being just like you and me who was capable of making mistakes….which he did.  To the tens of thousands of people whose lives have been touched by JoePa, he was more than that.  He was an inspiration, hero, philanthropist, hall of famer, legend, coach, and teacher.  Paterno has meant more to Penn St. than anyone else has or probably ever will.    Yes Penn St. existed before Paterno and it will exist after him.  JoePa didn’t create Penn St. but he did put it on the map.  Now that he’s gone it’ll be tough to “hate” on Penn St., but I’ll try my best. 
courtesy of supportyourlocalgunfighter.com
Until next time this is Jimbo saying judge Joe Paterno on his body of work, not what YOU perceive to be a transgression…..R.I.P. JoePa……..

5 comments:

  1. Proud of you Jimbo..well written and said..

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  2. Fully agree and well written Jim....R.I.P JoePa and thank you for everything, you will be truly missed!

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  3. I must admit that I know nothing of Joe Paterno or this sport, but I admire reading your passion. I am an educator amongst other things and found myself drawn to your statement about the impact we make on our student's lives. Thank you for this look into a new world for me!

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  4. I am not a Penn St fan either. As a born and bred WVU Mountaineer I was taught to hate all things from Happy Valley. However, I agree with you on many aspects of this post and certainly respect your impassioned opinion. Thanks for sharing.

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