I’ve been watching football for a very long time, in fact, as long as I can remember. My dad was a Penn State man, having spent a good deal of his life in Pennsylvania and in Lewistown, which is only a few miles away from State College. You could say that I am familiar with the school and it’s football history. I even visited the college one time on a trip back from visiting the University of Maryland.
One of the constants in Penn State as I seen was Joe Paterno. The old guy with the thick glasses and almost brooding sense on the sideline. I was reared on the legend that is, was, Joe Paterno.
It cut deep to see him dragged through the mud as if he were the guiltiest of them all when the Sandusky scandal broke in November, and I felt the loss of his termination. It cut even deeper still when they announced he had cancer, having just survived cancer myself I knew what he was experiencing, or was about to experience.
When I heard of his death at 9:35 am EST, I wasn’t surprised, chemotherapy and radiation are tough mothers to handle, and it even brought me down as strong as I thought I was.
It really pissed me off to see people continuing to beat him, even after his death. It says something about a society that kicks a man when he’s down, and then continues to kick a dead man. I even think about those Marines in Afghanistan. Is there no respect for the dead any more?
Years ago I was in ROTC and I was playing the opposing force on a squad training lane. After I had been “killed,” they were doing systematic searches. One cadet proceeded to berate a dead me and make obscene remarks. It was brought out during the after action review. “I am making a report to your cadre,” a senior cadet told him, “as well as giving you a ‘no go’ for this exercise.” There were other remarks given that are not appropriate for the interwebs, and the point was made. You do not treat dead men, even those of your enemy, with disrespect.
I was even asked where my sense of humor was relating to Paterno’s death. I find nothing funny about it.
Cancer is not funny.
The death of any person is not funny.
Rest in Peace Joe, you’ve done more for more than can be counted.