I want to feel other things. Mad at the way it was handled. Calm as I wait for the legal process to play itself out. Defensive towards the ignorant minority that seem to be taking pleasure in this while they call my alma mater Pedophile State University. Excited for the game on Saturday. But all I feel is sad.
I grew up outside of Seattle and often get asked how I ended up at Penn State. The easy answer is, "I was a swimmer." The real answer is, "I don't know." In the fall of my senior year in high school I was getting ready to apply to colleges. I wanted to go to a big D-1 school where I could swim, get a great education, and as a bonus have a good football or basketball toam. And the school colors had to be right too. I had always been interested in the Big Ten and the East Coast. For most of high school, I thought I'd follow my brother and go to Michigan. I remember standing in my kitchen with my dad and saying, "What about Penn State?" To this day, I have no idea why I said that. I ordered my application materials and my dad contacted the swim coach. They stayed in touch with me, I applied, got in, and took my visit in April.I was driving down College Ave with the coach and my dad and I knew this was it.
Like anyone's college experience, mine was a mixed bag. There were times I considered transferring to the University of Washington to be closer to home. But, overall, Penn State was the greatest thing to ever happen to me. I met my wife at Penn State and married her in State College. I came back for my Master's and found a career. My wife and I have chosen State College as the place where we will raise our family and we now have an amazing son. Needless to say, I love Penn State.
And now this. Backing away from the Penn State angle, this is one of the most heinous and inhuman crime sprees of my lifetime. Bringing Penn State back into it, and I'm crushed. I'll move on. We all will. But right now thinking about the Nebraska game just makes me sad. I feel like I could break down in tears when the Blue Band plays the alma mater. I wonder if I'll be able to choke out We Are Penn State. Maybe being with my fellow Nittany Lions and cheering for the school and team I love is exactly what I need.
For now, I'm just sad.