I'm going to cheer for Penn State on Saturday. It will not be easy.
It will not be easy because of what we have learned in the past week. By now everybody is fully aware of what has happened with Jerry Sandusky being accused of unspeakable crimes, while Tim Curley and Gary Schultz have been charged with perjury in the trial. I don’t think I need to go into the details. We all know why our University is under siege and why cheering for our football team on Saturday is going to be difficult. But I will.
I’m fully aware of what will be waiting for me. Taunts from my friends, questions as to how I can support this institution, and tasteless and unoriginal humor on no greater than a 7th grade level are sure to shower down on me for the foreseeable future. I will endure the suggestion that I am supporting those who would harm children when I wear my University’s colors. And I will continue to support Penn State.
I will cheer for the players. For Silas Redd, one of the hardest working players in the country. For Stephon Greene, who took full advantage of a second chance. For Matt McGloin, who has risen from walkon to starting quarterback despite the ridicule of his own fanbase (sometimes from me). For Gerald Hodges, Nate Stupar, Devon Still, and the rest of one of the best defenses in the country. For so many players who do things the right way. On and off the field.
I will cheer for those who came before me. For Darryl Clark, Curt Warner, Todd Blackledge, and Jordan Norwood. For Paul Posluszny, Jack Ham, Lavar Arrington, Shane Conlin, and Adam Taliferro. For so many Academic All Americans and boys who have become men and made a positive impact on society once their playing days were long over. For all of the alumni who upheld Penn State’s morals and traditions and helped build the University into the proud academic institution that we have today.
I will cheer for those who will come after me. Because this program and this school are not dead. Although we are witnessing the end of an era, that does not mean we need to watch our ideals die with it. Success with honor. Doing things the right way. Though these concepts may have been tarnished by the actions of some of our most powerful leaders, we must ensure that they remain in place and are never defiled they way they have been in this past week. What happened in State College after Joe Paterno was fired is unacceptable. A riot for the removal of our coach is not only contrary to the Penn State way, but also the last thing that coach would have wanted to see from his school. “May no act of ours bring shame…”
Whether or not you or I will cheer for Joe Paterno is of little consequence tomorrow. My thoughts on Paterno will not matter once the game begins, because I do not cheer for a head coach alone.
Because Joe Paterno is not Penn State.
Neither are Jerry Sandusky, Tim Curley, Gary Schultz, or Graham Spanier. As much of an impact that these men have had on the present course of the University, they alone are not Penn State.
WE are Penn State. And we must remember what we stand for. I will cheer for Penn State because of my fellow alumni, students, and fans who believe in doing things the right way. The ideals that have been instilled at this school for decades are not antiquated. We will work to once again become respected for what we do on and off the field.
Fight On, State.