Since the news of the Jerry Sandusky child rape scandal broke and the response of Penn State’s leaders, from President Graham Spanier to Head Coach Joe Paterno, has become more and more egregiously inadequate, the word ‘vacuum’ has been used to describe the leadership, atmosphere, and climate in Happy Valley.
While it’s true that State College and the
campus sit three hours from the nearest major media market, literally surrounded by mountainous farmland, ‘vacuum’ isn’t the correct word. University Park
Oblivion. That is what describes this entire scenario, from
’s flouting of his power to torture innocent children to the students chanting “We Want Joe!” outside Paterno’s home on Tuesday night. Complete and utter oblivion to the outside world – the real world. Sandusky
And that oblivion has always been accepted there. Take it from someone who lived there for four years.
During my freshman year, I wanted to transfer back to
. I wanted to get away from an atmosphere that seemed exclusionary and all too focused on the jockocracy. It felt like an Alpha male high school on steroids. Then I met some people like me. I found my place, like many confused freshmen do, and grew friendships with people I still keep in touch with to this day. Had I stayed in Pittsburgh Pittsburgh, I never would have met Pat Fung, the kid from Jersey who knew people in the when it fell. I never would have met Carla Scardino, the 110% Italian girl from South Philly who introduced our group of friends to “woota’ (water), WaWa, and took us to Pat’s for cheesesteaks. World Trade Center
I never would have met all of the locals I became friends with, either. ‘Fitzy,’ the kid who tried his damnedst to take a swing at college but was meant more for fixing cars. Ralph, the kid who dominated D-2 ACHA club hockey and singlehandedly carried our intramural and adult league teams. And so many others who grew up in State College and the surrounding area who understood that
was not football. They understood that Penn State was not Beaver Stadium on a Saturday. They understood that Penn State was not Joe Paterno. Penn State
Yet there was a quiet acceptance of it all, as if growing up in
Centre County, you knew that the outside world, and even those in ultimate power and control of the world of , were going to make it about football, and Paterno, and all of the high and mighty moral righteousness. You had to accept that if you were going to be a local, and survive the increasing encroachment of ‘Gown’ on your ‘Town.’ Penn State
To understand all of that, you have to be a local, or accepted as one. I went through that as I hosted the #1 nighttime radio show on two different radio stations in
I will still value my time at
It is time for Penn Staters, current and alumni, residents of State College and
In less than 100 days, the largest student-run philanthropy in the world will hold THON,
The page must be turned. Joe Paterno must be fired. Now. Not allowed to resign effective at the end of the season. The same goes for Mike McQueary and Graham Spanier, and Tim Curley, who is on administrative leave and has yet to be stripped of his ability to fight perjury charges with university, and subsequently taxpayer money.
What is written on the next page though is up to those willing to fill that ‘vacuum,’ pick up the pen, and end the oblivion that has been the pass-the-buck, football first culture of the “leadership” at
We owe it to those that call themselves Penn Staters, to those from
State College, and most of all, never forget that we owe it to the victims, to learn from what will go down as the most horrific case of negligence in the history of organized athletics and higher education.
We owe it to them to end the oblivion.