Wednesday, November 9, 2011

My Mom Dated Joe Paterno

It is true.  My mother dated Joe Paterno.  It was back in the 50's - she went to school there between 1952 and 1956.  He was a young assistant with Rip Engle at the time.  I think I remember her saying that they went to see a boxing match and grabbed some sandwiches.  It wasn't love at first sight - she said he was kind of goofy.

I think it is a good thing it didn't work out.  I would be considerably shorter and have a bigger nose.  Although I would have pretty decent seats for games - tough trade-off.

I mention this because of all the controversy swirling in the recent events surrounding Joe's retirement.  How sad that one person's sin has so much consequence.

Do you think that Paterno's assistant coach thought through all of this when he planned to commit these horrible acts?  Was it a fair trade in his mind?  Could you imagine saying, "I will trade my integrity, all the accolades I have been given, the lives of these young boys, their families and their psychological well-being as well as the reputation of my school and close associates so that I can indulge in my desires?"

And see, that is the power of sin.  Sin is such a churchy word.  It gets mocked in some circles and portrayed as a word that isn't worthy of our sophisticated current understanding of the human psyche.  Baloney.  It is the perfect word for something like this - a deep desire that keeps taking more and more real estate in your soul until it has to be acted upon regardless of the consequences.  Sin is sin because it puts me first.  We are all capable of what happened here - and we are all in need of something outside of ourselves to fix what is wrong.

So the man that my mom dated is still the same guy, but now he has a blemish on his record because of the selfishness of one man (and perhaps even the selfishness of Paterno himself).  It reminds me of a quote that a friend of mine once said: "sin makes you stay more than you wanted to stay and pay more than you want to pay."  And not just for you - but for those around you as well.  Just ask Joe Paterno.

1 comment:

  1. John, this is truly a good way to look at this and really brings it into perspective. I dislike the swirlings of all of the information right now because it sickens me and makes me uncomfortable. But, I like that you brought it down out of all of the hype.