Life Lessons, Penn State

(Not So) Great Expectations

If there is one thing certain about this life, it’s that at some point people are going to fail to meet expectations. This will then cause disappointment and anger to arise, which is perfectly natural.

So, as a Penn State student, I can say that Jerry Sandusky, Joe Paterno and everyone else involved in this scandal plaguing the media did not meet my expectations.

But, Penn State as an educational institution of students did not fail my expectations.

I love football, but I only love pro football. I don’t like college football at all. I went into Beaver Stadium once and I never went back. I was there for the Blue and White game, so I didn’t even pay to get in. I was bored and it rained. I went because it was a time to party and have fun with friends, I didn’t even watch the game.

Up until the allegations were brought into the spotlight, I didn’t even know who Jerry Sandusky was. I knew who Joe Paterno was and that was the extent of my Penn State football knowledge. I only knew of Paterno because of how the media portrayed him: a football legend. From the time I was little, that’s all the media did. He was put on a pedestal. Arguably, he earned it.

And, as many saw, he fell from that pedestal.

Deep down, Joe Paterno was human, and that means he was liable to make mistakes. In this case, he made a big one. He decided to protect the face of a football program rather than children. Many people from his upbringing would have chose to keep a situation hush hush as well. I agree with the decision to keep the situation under wraps. I would not have done it, but I understand why he chose that. Where the problem lies, is that he continued to allow Sandusky near children. It’s one thing to deal with the situation, it’s another to pretend it doesn’t exist. In turn, Joe Paterno let people down.

Now, let’s make this distinction. Joe Paterno let those kids down. He did not let anyone else down because no one else is personally invested in a relationship with him. I didn’t know Joe Paterno so I can’t say he let me down personally. Am I disappointed by the situation? Yes. But I wasn’t involved. You could say he let the media down because the media so frequently put him in the spotlight, but ultimately he didn’t let anyone down but those children.

People everywhere have thus started a war on Penn State. This war is waged with the institution itself, the football program and the alumni that attended the university.

The institution will be dealt with however officials deem, as well as the football program. Then all that can be done is to move forward.

The alumni and students will hopefully be left alone.

I have read countless, poorly written news articles about the scandal all over the Internet. The language is inflated and inappropriate for how news is supposed to be written. News reports are supposed to give facts and not give opinions. However, I have found a good amount of supposed news articles with opinions that should not be included because its unethical to have said opinion in the story. When I read the comments on these stories, I begin to get frustrated.

“All of you alumni are pedophile supporters”

“Rip up your diploma from Pedo State”

“All the alumni care about is football. They should pay restitution for the victims!”

Is this really what the world has come to? Really? Since when did the actions of a few people determine the attitude of a whole student body? And it’s not like it’s the victim’s families saying this, it’s people that have nothing to do with the situation.

I think I already made it clear I don’t care about the football program, but I do care about my degree and the students I went to school with. I already owe the state of Pennsylvania money, I’m not paying a monthly fee for something that happened because of a few individual people. I won’t rip up my diploma because I earned it. I went to school for four years and some semesters I was up studying all night for tests. I didn’t go out and party all the time because I had too much studying to do, or I had another news article to write. I was on the staff of Valley Magazine and was writing and promoting for things I wrote and for things my fellow staff wrote. We worked hard for that. I went to THON and was on the committee as a sophomore.

I will not be defined by a series of poor decisions made by people older than me. I went to school to learn how to make better decisions. I went to school to make my future brighter. I didn’t go because of football. I didn’t go because of Joe Paterno. I went because I wanted to make a difference. The students and alumni of Penn State went to there to try and make a difference. Everyone damning us, what exactly have you done? All of you are fully capable of accusing us of something we had no control over and by telling us we should be ashamed. The past is unchangeable and all anyone can do is move forward. But don’t hold students and alumni accountable for the actions of people that were supposed to make better decisions.

By all means, expect a lot from us.

Because unlike others, we won’t let you down because we know what it’s like to be let down and have to suffer unjustly for it.


1 thought on “(Not So) Great Expectations”

  1. Well written and spot on.. we cant hold the rest of the university hostage in this situation because of the actions or inactions of a few men.

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