An Open Letter to My Dad...

Dad, I’m glad you’re not here.
This is only the second time in twelve years that I have thought that.  The first time was in September, 2001.
And now, with the events unfolding at our University, although I, as I do nearly every day, selfishly wish that you were here to tell me that everything was going to be okay, I know, in my heart, that you are lucky to be spared this disappointment. 
Penn State, and their glorious football team, was the thread that bound us. When I was an unruly child, or confusing adolescent, we would always come together for our Lions. I know that part of the reason I spent so much time memorizing player names, game rules and historic scores was because it seemed to please you when your “wittle girl” could act as a human stats page for your friends. 
I know that there were things that we did together that weren’t Penn State related, one such thing being our faith, which has been invaluable to me - you were my favorite person on the planet, with or without PSU, but the school and the culture of Penn State is so intrenched in our past, and in my memories, that it’s difficult for me to think of one without the other.
I was so proud of you when you taught B-Log (those letters mean something different now, btw) at University Park and Altoona; I remember when you let me grade the multiple choice portions of the tests, and how much you cared about how each student was doing.
I’d make recordings of the Blue Band for your work commute, and you would joke that you almost wrecked the car when you tried to stand up during the alma mater.
Daddy, this week they are going to ask us to sing the alma mater and I don’t know if I’ll be able to do it.
You were proud to be a Penn State fan.  
Sure there were times when you were frustrated and disappointed, and you were never a big fan of “game day Joe.” But your admiration and respect for Coach Paterno off the field was steadfast.  He has announced his retirement - he is standing beside his players and the University - he has admitted that he wishes he had done more. 
The actions and inactions and continued negative behavior of others has rocked me to my core.  I know that I am not a victim in this situation, but I do feel helpless. I don’t know Pop - I just don’t know.
What I do know, is that the ideals that we were taught and believed ineven if they haven't been upheld by those who were trusted, are still true. You never got to see Adam Taliaferro play or his victory over adversity - he is still true. You never got to see how the kids camp out in tents to get tickets and how they rally around all the Penn State sports - they are still true. You never got to see how my friends and I have grown and shone as Penn Staters (tailgaters) and people - we are still true.
So Daddy, while I am glad that you haven’t had to bear the anguish of these last few days or to ache for the children who were harmed - I am glad that I do have my memories of you to reassure me that what we’ve believed all these years is true because we make it so.  We Are.


Mike Caton said...

Beautiful. I lost my own dad my senior year and I've had similar thoughts through this.

WFY said...

If I were there, I'd sing the alma mater and scream MAY NOT ACT OF OURS BRING SHAME.

Thank you for sharing this with us.