Yes, You Can Die of a Broken Heart – Joe Paterno, RIP

Joe Paterno, Penn State Football, Nittany Lions

Joe Paterno – The man is a legend, an institution, a household name.

At least in my world.  

My parents went to Penn State- My grandparents went to Penn State.  That’s Pennsylvania State University, home of the Nittany Lions, and Joe Paterno.

Penn State Altoona

Joe lived on our house from August to January every year of my life. He was like..a relative that came to stay once a year and made it a lengthy stay at that, only not as disruptive because he came around on Saturdays mostly.  Sometimes if the Nittany Lions sucked potatoes on Saturday, he would be mentioned often during the week.  And when they rocked the pigskin, he was spoken of fondly.

English: Penn State defense tackles the Coasta...

My grandparents, Dad’s parents , used to do that.  Come to visit and stay for three months or forever.  I was a little kid and I had to give up my room and sleep on a cot in my brother’s room.  You know how slow time was when you were a kid.  Sometimes it seemed like they were there forever.  My Grandma wouldn’t fly so they would take the train or drive.  All the way from Pennsylvania.

Lots of others in my family are Penn State alumni.  I grew up thinking I would be too,  So did my brother.  

I got acceptedand only did not attend because they did not have a dorm

The Nittany Lion and a Penn State cheerleader ...

room available at the time  so I sent in my acceptance to CSU.  I’m sure there were other reasons I wouldn’t have gone even if there had been a dorm but it’s my story and no dorm works for me.  But what really counts is I COULD have gone, 

The Lion Shrine at Penn State.

My brother chose to attend a smaller school that he would be able to play football all 7 years.  Ha Ha just kidding – 4 years.  And he did play all through college for a rocking team and met his wife, my SIL – she of the butterfly wisdom – while he was there.   But I have no doubt he dreamed of playing for Penn State.  I don’t even know if he actually applied but if I got accepted so would he have.  

And the legacy carried on,  My kids know who Joe Pa was, my brother’s kids know.  We are a Penn State family.  That’s 4 generations.  

Penn State Nittany Lions women's ice hockey

46 years as a head coach, 62 seasons with the Nittany Lions.  409 wins, 2 National championships, 5 undefeated seasons, wins in all 5 major bowl games, a spot in the hall of fame, thousands of lives touched.

The winningest coach in major college football.  

Joe Paterno

And people want to know how they are supposed to remember him?  

If you want to remember him by scandal then just remember him as a man.  Not infallible and from what I could tell never pretended he was.

He did not molest children.  He did not condone it.  He didn’t turn the other cheek.  He delegated the handling of it, then mistakenly trusted it had been handled correctly.  He did not go to authorities, nor use his authority to make sure something was done.  He told someone and left it at that.  He made the mistake of not doing enough.

And he was swiftly and harshly judged. Not by his peers, or his players but by the Penn State Administration, by the public.  

By people who in their own sense of self-importance think that in the same situation they would have handled it correctly.  They would have done the RIGHT thing without a doubt or question or thought to anyone else.  

By those, who in their own self of self-importance think that they have been given some kind of authority, by whom I would really like to know, to judge another, to judge a good man so harshly as to ruin him.  

I don’t think Joe Paterno did the wrong thing, he just didn’t do enough.  And that is only in hindsight.  

Tell me, does that cancel out a remarkable life?  Does it make a remarkable life only remarkable for that one gaff?  

I saw a post that asked why was he famous and then proceeded to slam him for being a child molester.  I found myself nearly pissed off.

Is that the kind of world we live in where someone who gave his life to making other lives better, to shaping generations of young people, to being the best man he could be, gets thrown to the hounds of hell because he made a mistake?  

Is that the kind of people we have become that we will destroy a man’s reputation on something we don’t know a damn thing about just because well gee, we heard it so it must be true…  What the hell in the name of GOD happened to innocent until proven guilty?

When did we get so low that to live an exemplary life is all for naught if someone can breathe a whiff of scandal into it?  

Are you assholes that are saying he is scum really so ignorant that you think that a man could do what this man did for 46 years, FORTY SIX YEARS and although he wasn’t perfect and didn’t pretend to be, no one could say anything as dirty as what they are saying now. Not even CLOSE!  

There was not even a hint of impropriety about Joe Paterno and you think …..you just heard about him, don’t know too much about him and you think you have the RIGHT to talk about him like he was some sort of monster?  Who the flying fuck do you think you are?  I’m really interested in an answer.  

I challenge anyone with the ignorant attitude of destroying this man’s reputation to do some reading.  Find out about him.  Tell me who his parents were, where he went to school, what branch of the military he served with,  Read about how he was a positive influence on so many lives.  Learn of his achievements, his challenges.  

Maybe then if you still want to believe he ought to have his reputation, his glory, stripped away, if you feel that he should pay that high of a price for a mistake that anyone could easily have made, I will let you to your opinion.    

We are all entitled to our own opinions but whether it’s about Joe Paterno or the best pizza in town, find out what you are talking about before opening your mouth.  

If you aren’t going to take the time to know that of which you speak, shut the hell up.  

I am sick to my stomach, it makes me cry.

For Joe Pa, for his family, for the Alumni, for Penn State.

For us.

He was so much better than that.  Aren’t WE better than that too?  He deserved a better exit.  He deserves a better remembrance than what I am reading.  What I have read.  

He died on Sunday morning just 74 days after being fired as head coach of the Penn State Nittany Lion Football team.  His whole life dedicated to this team and this school.  

It was taken away from him 74 days ago.  And now he is gone.  

That’s all the proof I need that you can die of a broken heart.  

~ Joe Paterno~
~December 21, 1926 – January 22, 2012~
You will be missed
Rest in Peace 

English: Kevin Kelly kicks off for the Nittany...

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10 responses to “Yes, You Can Die of a Broken Heart – Joe Paterno, RIP

    • Thanks – it just doesn’t seem fair that he had to leave us on the note he did. Or that a sour note is his legacy to many when he doesn’t deserve it to be even noted at all.

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