The End For Penn State

Growing up in northern Vermont I didn't really have a college football team to root for. Like many "orphan" college football fans I started to like Notre Dame. However, that changed in the summer of 1994 when my parents sent me to Valley Forge Military Academy outside of Philadelphia, PA. While playing football there I started to watch Penn State football. They were such a great team. Joe Paterno was a great leader, and he seemed like a guy you wanted to play for, and his program was something you wanted to be a part of. That season Penn State went undefeated but didn't win the National Championship. But they gained a fan.

The following year I returned to northern Vermont, and continued to watch Penn State football when I got the chance. Like many high school athletes you get so consumed with your games, you forget about watching other games.

After I graduated from high school I got the chance to return to my alma mater as a volunteer assistant football coach while in college. In my second season there we took a trip to Penn State for a coaching clinic. The Penn State coaching clinic was one of the most respected clinics in the country. It was a great chance to see how the "best" do it. My second day there we were waiting for Joe Paterno to come into a room and speak to all the coaches. I saw him enter the room out of the corner of my eye. I walked up to him and asked him for an autograph. Instead of saying "no" or just signing an autograph for me, he struck up a conversation with me. We talked for a few minutes and I was left with a lasting image of a great coach. I also walked away with an autograph.

While at the clinic I remember seeing Jerry Sandusky a few times. He was already retired but still lurked around.

After college I stopped coaching football and eventually settled down, got married, had two wonderful children and continued to watch Penn State football.

When I heard about the allegations against Jerry Sandusky, Penn State, and Joe Paterno I was sad. Not for them, but for the children involved, and the people who will be effected for the rest of their lives. I tried to convince myself that JoePa wasn't involved in this, and that some way he would have tried to stop it. However, in the end he didn't. As light has been completely shed on what happened at Penn State, Joe Paterno could have been a true hero and lived up to everything he preached at his program for over fifty years. Instead he became a villain. He became the same person he tried to make his players, coaches, and mentors avoid...someone lacking ethics, with low morals, willing to do whatever it takes to get to the top even if it meant stepping on other people and ruining lives.

Tomorrow the NCAA sanctions will come down on Penn State. There will be no "death penalty," by the NCAA, but their has already been a "death penalty" by the general public who will forever view Penn State like a sick old man taking young boys into shower.

I've always raised my children to like the teams I  like in my life. The New York Mets, New York Jets, New York Islanders, but how can I honestly have them be Penn State fans after everything that has gone on? I can't.

Going forward in my life I'm going to find another team to root for, a team that will have the ethics and decency not allow the things that went on at Penn State to happen at their campus, and if it did, to come forward and allow justice to take place instead of hiding it, and covering it up cowards. I want my kids to grow up rooting for heros, not villains.

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