“We Are…Crushed.”

In the bubble of Dartmouth College, the majority of students aren’t aware of the tragedy unfolding at Pennsylvania State University, unless they regularly watch ESPN.  Even so, the focus seems to be on long-time legend and head football coach Joseph Paterno “leaving.”  First off, the board of trustees at State College fired him.  Second off, this scandal has a much larger effect that goes beyond Joe Pa leaving. 

My parents are alums at PSU.  I have been going to games since I was barely a year old.  As a school with almost 30,000 students at any given time, there are half a million alums out there who “bleed blue and white.” My bathroom is filled with Penn State memorabilia, including articles about Joe Pa leading the team to victory and panoramic views of the football field.  I think I can speak for many families when I say how devastating this incident was, not just because of the loss of our football figurehead, but for the entire Penn State community grappling with these hideous acts while still trying to hold on to State College’s legacy of pride.

Whether or not Joseph Paterno was rightfully fired is beyond my knowledge.  There is a very fine line between having a suspicion and not being able to admit to yourself that you even have such a dreadful suspicion, especially regarding a trusted colleague of decades molesting innocent boys.  It may have been necessary for him to go; the school seems to need a cleansing and a fresh start after this horror story.  However, it could just add to the shocking blow the overwhelmingly large Penn State community received this past week. 

However, the main point is not the football coach.  It is the victims, their families, and how Penn State is going to survive this and maintain its strong traditions of pride and glory.  Having grown up with all the cheers, it breaks my heart to see all my parents and their college buddies saying, “WE ARE…DEVASTATED,” and, “What if everything you thought you knew was wrong?”  They are not mourning the football team’s legendary coach, but the acts that nobody stopped that have now tainted Penn State’s name.

The link below is to the grand jury report.  It is harrowing and very difficult to read, but it is a wake-up call to those whose only concern is the football team. Penn State will always have talented players and good coaches, and students will always white-out the stadium and go nuts for their school in the stands.  This was ignored to long for it to be overwhelmed by Joseph Paterno’s career ending.  This is about the boys, and how the athletic directors ignored reports and allowed Sandusky to carry on as if nothing was wrongThis is about the community of over half a million people and all their families questioning the very pride they believed in and supporting the victims. For the Glory.

 

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2011/11/06/sports/ncaafootball/20111106-pennstate-document.html

Meghan Hassett