Sunday, November 13, 2011

Penn State. . . the day after. . .


This past week an university campus has been rocked, shocked. knocked about by sexual abuse scandal, allegations, revelations, firings, investigations.  The national media has spared no efforts to dig out, reveal
all the sordid details and has repeated these over and over.  Penn State University - that bastion of tradition, honor, has been exposed to the world in all its shame because of the action and inaction on the part of the university leadership in dealing with "our dirty little secrets".

Anyone who lives in an academic community, all those in the ranks of currents student body, alumni, friends, families. . . ..anyone with half an active brain and who are in touch with the emotional tremors of each in our various local academic communities can by appropriation understand the high level of anxiety, fear, anger, disgust, disappointment among the Penn State community.  There have been various levels of expressing all these emotions . . . emotions which arise from the heart of any community in time of crisis, honor or dishonor.
. . . .protests, shows of support and solidarity, a natural pulling together facing such allegations whether in small groups across campus, or in angry outbursts which could have lead to severe and greater violence, to candle-light vigils for prayer, in whatever form, flowing from our instinctual desire to hold together, to support and uphold "the community wherever we find it".

Yesterday's football game at Penn State was a highly charged situation coming at the end of a tumultuous week of crashing and crushing proportions.  When the team arrived at the stadium emotions were running very high and that event. . . .a football game. . .took on super-proportions for all those there and for the many many watching on TV.. . . . even coming onto the field without the physical leadership of their much loved and respected  legendary coach of over 46 years - Mr. Joe Paterno - was a highly-felt sign or symbol of the current status of that community.   Some would perhaps say "For God's sake, it's only a stupid football game. after all. . . ."  "Yeah but. . ." this football game, in particular, for the Penn State Community was an emotion charged expression of who Penn State is.  . . .and the like.  From almost deep primal roots within the community we find means to express those things important to us.

Collegiate football players do not PRAY  -- at least not publicly -- for a win, a victory over their opponents.
Yesterday they chose to show publicly this powerful gesture by young men, both teams, kneeling together with great dignity and respect,  in a physical sign in thunderous silence. . . .a prayer attitude.  What they were doing did not need to be explained to those watching . . . . the sign, symbol spoke eloquently. . .a people on their knees before God and one another in a time of great communal need. . . .the symbol itself. . young men, both teams and staff, kneeling, bowed heads, in silence speaks powerfully to those with eyes to see and hearts to hear.

My facetious question/ photo caption  "Is this still allowed?. . . . Try and stop 'em !" is answered by what they did.
                 Justin O'Shea


jimm said...

Yes, we can be proud of the teams, and their supporters for yesterdays response to this awful mess.

I fear these terrible incidents will become much more despicable when all is peeled back.

Was the fund drive for stadium upgrade and expansion a factor?

Is the missing DA somehow connected?

Let's hope the youngster can somehow recover.

Gary Kelly said...

Roite... well that clears up a few things.

Stew said...

It's good to read an opinion of someone that lives in the academic world. I've heard so much talk from several angles on the matter. Your's is the first opinion that makes sense.
It's amazing what happens when I leave the country for a week. Between this and the Bieber baby, I just don't know what to think.

J said...

There is something operatic about this Penn State thing--kind of like Gounod's Faust, who sells his soul to the devil to get a piece of ass. Here the great god they came to worship was football, and heaven knows how many kids' asses were sacrificed at the foot of that altar. They will learn as did the Catholic Church that the cost of their hubris is a hell of a lot greater than they could have imagined. By the time all the lawyers get finished eating their livers there won't be an academic institution left to salvage.

JustinO'Shea said...

ex ore advocati. . . .dire!