During this whole last few months I have been cautious about how we talked about Joe's retirement because of the obvious difficult topics that could come up. When we watched Nebraska, we started at the 5 minute mark so I could watch the beginning in solitude. Turned out to be a good decision. Watching the last few games together, I had to fast forward past the discussions of the scandal. This last week I had to be out of town on business so Joe's rapid decline was, again, something I endured alone. Thanks to all of the BSD family for anchoring me a bit as I wiped away tears in my hotel room.
I have two girls, 8 and 10, who were both lucky enough to see Coach Joe in action. Even though we live in the Buckeye state, they take pride in being a little different and being PSU fans is just one more way of doing that.
I finally made it home, and when I came in the door on Thursday night my 10 year old daughter greeted me with a hearty "welcome home" hug. The first thing she said was, "Daddy, I'm sorry about Joe Paterno."
As my eyes watered, I fought to keep my voice steady and explained to her how fortunate she was to have seen one of the greatest college football coaches. I also said something like "Joe taught us that winning was not what we do but how we do it." Then she proudly said, "Yesterday for school I wore my Penn State shirt and my Penn State earrings and my Penn State necklace, and that's risky because my teacher is an Ohio State fan!" I said, "Thank you sweetheart, you did the right thing for Joe." and that is when it finally hit me. I hugged her by the front door and cried like a baby for the first time since this all happened.
I don't know why I'm writing this. It must be cathatic because the same emotions are coming back as I think and write. Hopefully you guys and gals will appreciate this little story. Last night I thought how fitting it is that our alumnus Rosey Grier was the one that sang and taught me it's alright to cry. He was correct, you know.
"I know some big boys that cry too."