Thursday, November 10, 2011

It's Time to Refocus, Penn State

One thing I love about my wife is that she puts up with my love for sports. She knows that it's a fundamental aspect of who I am. I grew up playing soccer, baseball, and basketball. I learned to swim and play football at a young age. I have picked up golf after college. I don't think it's too far-fetched to say that many people who know me associate me with sports.

Sometimes I remember what day it is not by looking at a calendar, but by thinking about what sports are on TV that day. It's not so much Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Under normal circumstances, barring an NBA lockout, it's NFL Sunday, Monday Night Football, dead sports day, NBA on ESPN, NBA on TNT, NBA on ESPN, college football, repeat. Like I said, one thing I love about my wife is that she puts up with all of this.

The other day, she asked me why guys love sports. I told her, in simple terms, that it was drama. Anything can happen on that field, and at any given moment, you could witness something that you'll never forget for the rest of your life. But it's more than that. There's a magic to sports that nothing else in the secular world can conjure. After Hurricane Katrina, even though I'm sure we were all weary of hearing every talking head mention it, the city of New Orleans rallied behind their Saints. You could just sense that they needed that Super Bowl victory, that atmosphere, to feel like everything was gonna be alright. That things could be normal again. Sports bring people together like few other things can.

But there still has to be a line. A point where people step back and realize that some things are greater than their beloved teams. A chance to do the right thing.

Only a few people know the full truth about the Penn State scandal, and I'm not pretending to be one of them. All I've done is sit back horrified as I read the Grand Jury report on Jerry Sandusky and his helpless victims. I can't imagine how someone could live with himself after abusing his position of authority to commit such heinous crimes.

But this isn't about Sandusky.

I am still bewildered by how Penn State could have let all of this slide. I hope it wasn't all about sweeping everything under the rug for the success of the college football program, but unfortunately, that wouldn't surprise any of us. Time will tell who is liable and should be held responsible for not contacting the police.

But this isn't about Penn State.

Joe Paterno has been an icon, maybe "the" icon, of college football for decades. The controversy is about whether or not Jo Pa did enough when he learned about Sandusky's actions. He alerted university officials, but he failed to notify the police. I, for one, think Jo Pa should have resigned immediately instead of talking about retiring after the season. The university responded by calling him yesterday and firing him over the phone. I don't have any allegiances to Paterno, but after everything he's done for college football and the university, it was a terrible way to have to exit. People responded to Jo Pa's disposal by rioting. Hundreds showed up outside his house with love-ridden chants and messages to show their outrage at how he was treated.

But this isn't about Joe Paterno.

This is about those nine victims and counting. This is about kids who placed their trust in an organization, The Second Mile, whose motto was "providing children with help and hope" but ended up providing children with abuse and trauma. This is about the sexually abused children who finally have a voice after being silent for so long.

What kind of backwards society do we live in when a tragedy like this happens and people are rioting, not for the victims, but for their football coach? God, help us.


Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...