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27 Januar, 2012

Enduring Conflict: JoePa

This is the first of what I hope will not be an often posted series. Today I want to talk about what it truly means to endure.

First, wow, I know it is late. I have stewed on this topic and debated whether to write on it for a long time. Ultimately my decision came down to the fact that this is a big topic and deserves attention. Joe Paterno passed this past week. If  you do not know this you either live in a cave, literally, or you have made a conscious decision to ignore it. In either case I highly doubt you would be reading my blog if  you fit in these categories.

I sent my condolences via Twitter, and Facebook. I think in this day and age it is sort of symbolic of how Joe's life has finished. He lived a life shrouded in mythology. If any one college football coach was above all else, it was him. The students of Penn State believed it. And to a fault so did the faculty of the university. What it led to was the downfall of the winingest coach in college football, and by proxy the university itself. Don't read this and assume that I think what happened was right. Or that the death of a legend should be related only to his most recent actions. I don't believe any of that. What I do believe is that JoePa lived a life of greatness. He was married to the same woman for most of his adult life. He helped raise countless fatherless, hopeless athletes, and turned them into men. There is no downplaying that. We as a society have a high standard though. It is a good thing. We want everyone to be perfect, and to a fault we like to see the ones we hold high fall from grace. The tabloids are full of it. Jim Tressel is another example. The bottom line is that we will hold JoePa dear, and caveat that with his inaction against the worst kind of criminal.

I want to believe that he did what he though was right. I can't help but think though, that he did what he thought would minimize the trouble for a close friend of his. A person he thought would be incapable of such wrong doing. All of this is still to be determined in a court of law, and I will wait to pass judgement until all facts are heard. If it is true, I think that JoePa should have done a lot more. A simple few phone calls to follow up. That's all I want. Make sure the charged is indeed being brought to justice. But he was still a great man. He knew how to connect with young men. His program rarely had legal issues, and his top recruits usually made it in the NFL. What I hope people don't do is label his life as one of failure. He had far more ups than downs, and his final year was one that even he realized was unlike any other in his 85  years on earth.

Many people will choose to remember the only black mar on his record. Don't destroy his memory by remembering only the last thing that he was published about. I urge you to research him and find as many stories as you can about him. Dig up as much dirt and put it into a 60 year coaching perspective. 60 years is a long time. If you can say you have lived a perfect life in 60 years, your name must be Jesus, because none of us are perfect. DO him the honor of remembering that.

My deepest heartfelt condolences go out to the Paterno family. I hope they find some measure of peace in the support that has flowed since his death.  JoePa was a legend. Endure the time of mourning. Things must get better. On this site, and in this man's eye, JoePa will remain an iconic piece of college football history. I will remember him for the time he devoted to young men. I will remember that he helped many children become adults. The rest can do what they choose.

Fortitudine Vincimus

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