I had been waiting for the call since November 9th, 2011 when everything started to unravel. I went over the conversation in my head over and over. Sometimes nasty – other times supportive. When I saw “Penn State University” on the caller ID last night as the phone rang I was not sure what I would say or how the conversation would go.
I generally get these calls a few times a year by current students looking to raise money for the school. I have been donating money to Penn State since I graduated and look forward to talking to the students on the phone to hear what they are studying, doing, etc. I at first did not know which way the call was going to go until I, in an instant, realize I had two ways to play this out: 1. act out of response to others (Penn State current leadership) or 2. act out of response to what really matters and be true to the core of our being (Joe). At that point I decided I would spend a few minutes talking to this student about his well being and his thoughts/feeling about all of this and what it means to be a Penn Stater. I told him I would be happy to give to the Paterno library fund.
Lesson learned: as Penn State alumni/students/staff – we need to stick together and show people who we really are. It is and always has been more than football. The media and some of the general public just do not “get it” and that is understandable. I am hopeful that living by example will show eventually show everyone what Joe Paterno taught us and what it truly means to be a Penn Stater.