I've been lurking amongst all of you for a few months now and really only started commenting a few weeks ago. I graduated in December of 2000 with a more or less useless degree in Administration of Justice and followed that with a completely useless MS in Criminal Justice from the U of Cincinnati a few years later. I now sell Tractors for a living after having run a few well known Big Box retail chain stores (I got my start at one of them in the electronics department on N. Atherton St, right next to Champs). I have always been proud of my Penn State roots, and prouder still of the values entrenched in them. However, after graduation, I never really felt a part of the family any longer. Life did what life does and took me in many different directions. I've settled back where I grew up, in Bradford County, and have never been happier.
Which brings me to my second, albeit more important point. I had strayed from the family that is Penn State. We like to say "We Are Penn State". However, there are thousands of Alumni out there like myself, slowly forgetting what it means to be a part of that family. This may have been rehashed in other fan posts, but I find myself struggling to find time to read them all, so forgive my redundancy. I think the final gift Joe bestowed upon us was drawing so many of us back into the fold. I've seen just in the last few months several new people on the boards. I've seen more blue and white around me than in quite a long time. I've become far more congisant of the solidarity we feel as fellow alumni and for that I'm grateful. Joe's passing and the tragic events of the past few months have brought us together like I've never seen. Everyone has suffered, none more so than the victims of that alleged monster Jerry Sandusky. For those of us that seem caught up in everything bad that has happened, I think we should begin focusing on the good that can come of it all. We Are Penn State, but we can also be an engine of change.
One final note: I apologize if this is disjointed and barely coherent. I've had this up on screen for half the morning, working on it between phone calls and customers.