For Penn Staters, today was the first day of the rest of our lives. Dramatic? Yes. But today was the first morning we woke up with nothing to attend, nothing to mourn, only time to reflect on the past week and the variety of emotions that came with it. The best way to describe what we feel now- numb. We are all emotionally and physically exhausted, and some are still in disbelief. Paterno’s death was something we all knew would happen, but could never possibly be prepared for. Now that it has happened, we face the age old question- now what?
In the words of Joe Paterno, we are either going to get better or we are going to get worse…nothing will ever be the same.
As current students and alumni, we have a huge weight on our shoulders. It’s our obligation to carry on Joe’s legacy and do what he did best; make an impact. We have the memories of Joe to hold onto. We heard his words of wisdom first hand. We know what it really means when we say “WE ARE…” It’s up to us to educate future Penn Staters, just like Joe educated us.
Last semester, I had the opportunity to speak with several former players for a class project. Through COMM 497G: Joe Paterno Communications and The Media, Matt Shanes and I were required to put together a project that embodied Joe Paterno for who he truly was and not just for the football coach you see on TV. Aside from his family, the people who knew Joe best were the young boys he turned into men and the stories and memories they have of Joseph Vincent Paterno will last a lifetime.
In honor of Coach Paterno, here is the perception of Joe and the legacy he will be remembered for. Enjoy!
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