Saturday, November 12, 2011

We Are...

I went to the University of Pittsburgh, a school that likes to fancy itself a rival of Penn State University in many ways, but especially in football, despite the fact that the two programs have very little in common and PSU is on the winning end of the matchup with an all-time record of 50-42-4.  My husband is currently attending Penn State, continuing this year a "few" years after starting there upon graduating high school.  Over the years, I've traded jabs with him and my many friends who are alumni, but always with the knowledge that they never took the "rivalry" as seriously as my fellow Pitt grads did.

I've been trying to formulate a post this week in the wake of news of Jerry Sandusky's horrible crimes.  I have had so much to say this week with friends, all of us sharing our outrage and disbelief, and I contemplated sharing what my thoughts were regarding the situation, but anything I could say has been said, regarding Joe Paterno, the media coverage and the bigger, more important crimes.

Photo credit: Reuters
Instead, I'll write about this: as I watch the pre-game portion of the Penn State/Nebraska game, I'm crying like a baby.  The seniors running out of the tunnel for a game that doesn't resemble anything they could have imagined even a week ago, the teams mingling in the middle of the field for a pre-game prayer, the pride, conviction, and renewed meaning behind the singing of the alma mater....during all of this, the cameras moved to students who were, like me, crying.

For many of them, this is their first exposure to the ugliness in a world that, to them, has been theirs to rule.  The utopia of Happy Valley has been hit by a virtual nuclear bomb and, while my reality check or introduction to imperfection of men may have been different than theirs, it's something that all of us go through in our lives.

This situation is horrible, disgusting, and only bound to get worse.  But it has united people.  Penn State has an unbelievable ability to raise money for worthy causes and now, their sights are set on organizations created to help Sandusky's and other miscreants' victims.  PSU's real rivals have stepped forward to offer support and understanding.  Today, differences have been set aside for a bit and people are coming together for a much more important reason than a football game.

So, while none of this makes any sense yet, nor will it ever, really, many of us are mourning this loss of innocence with the students and alumni of Penn State.  And even though many of us aren't......

We Are.

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