By the time this post is read, I seriously doubt that there is anyone who has not heard about the horrific scene at Penn State University. The entire nation is horrified and furious, and rightfully so. But this post is not about Jerry Sandusky, or Joe Paterno or even Mike McQueary. It’s not even about a couple of thousand students being ridiculous and shaming the school even further with their protest turned riot.
It’s about the 40,000 or so other students who did nothing wrong and who are absolutely heartbroken over the disgrace brought down on their beloved institution. It’s about the staff and faculty at PSU who are having to struggle past the media into buildings in order to get to work and class. It’s about the collective heartbreak of a nation, for the victims, for the school and for themselves. It’s about their attempts to reach out, to rebuild and to heal.
Yes, I’m outraged. I’ve cried and read more than I probably should. But I don’t live there, and it’s not my team or my school. When I place myself in the shoes of those in the thick of this, I am even more sad. The disgust of an entire country has been lodged against them all because of the sick and twisted actions of a few.
Again, as a wannabe sports blogger, there are things I would be remiss not to write about here on GG, but I think that the media at large has it pretty much covered. As a person with a friend at PSU, I have become intrigued about what isn’t being covered. There is a glaring lack of reporting on the overwhelming sadness and grief of the students, faculty, staff, and fans, not to mention the complete disruption of life and total chaos both night and day.
PLEASE NOTE: obviously the victims of these horrific crimes are THE focal point and I am in NO WAY putting aside their pain and tragedy, it’s just that this post is not about them. I’m not saying this isn’t the most important thing – it’s just not the only thing.
There has been little to no mention of the efforts of various organizations of students and staff to reach out to the victims or simply to gather together to pray for them. No coverage of bunch of football players who have steadily worked their butts off and secured a very successful season but have about zero chance of a normal Saturday for their game. No mention of mothers taking their children to draw encouraging words and pictures with chalk on the sidewalks near the stadium. These people are fallout from a personal disaster not of their making.
My goal is, like I told my friend, is to shine the spotlight on the good guys. We know who the bad guys are but do we know any of the good ones? I didn’t until today. Did you know that yesterday kicked off the PSU “100 Days to THON”, an event that last year raised over NINE million dollars for pediatric cancer research? I didn’t. Did you know that this is the largest student run philanthropic organization in the world? I didn’t. Did you know that a group called PSU Hope is holding a candlelight vigil tonight to honor and reach out to the victims of these terrible crimes? I didn’t. Did you know that what is normally a nationally recognized “WhiteOut” at Saturday’s game has been changed to “BlueOut” in support of the fight against child abuse? I didn’t.
What I do know is that there is so much more where those few examples came from. I know that this institution is grieving and wants to change the focus of this circus back to where it belongs – on the victims and their families, back to prevention of child abuse, back to reaching out to those affected by this horrible situation.
Darkness is simply the absence of light. Light has been shined upon the evil that was visited upon helpless children and that glare is deservedly bright. But there is a shadow that has been cast upon the innocent bystanders of this school and they could stand some light too. Let’s remember that Penn State is more than Jerry Sandusky, Joe Paterno, Mike McQuery, etc., and they want to help. To make things right. To be a part of the solution. To say with one voice, “This is not who we are.”