There are a lot of things in this world that are far more important than barbells and dumbells–than squats and deadlifts. Building physical strength through a continual struggle builds character, this much is true. But fitness doesn’t define a person–courage and action do.
While anyone can dispute the meaning or the worthiness of any given war throughout history, courage and action can’t be disputed. Men and women willing to die for something they believe to be right deserve respect–irrespective of what they are fighting for. Their actions may have taken lives and they may have saved others. But they acted in spite of fear–and this is what defines courage.
To those who took action during your youth, far from home and in spite of fear–thank you.
Men and women that have fought and died deserve our thoughts and rememberance, but there is a group of young men in Central Pennsylvania that deserve our support right now.
Penn State is in turmoil because of the allegations made against Jerry Sandusky and the subsequent firing of Joe Paterno as head football coach. Much of the coverage of the story has been misguided, taking attention away from the fact that young boys were victims of the heinous acts of a monster in the guise of humanitarian, and instead focusing on the fate of Joe Paterno. Hopefully the media rights the ship in this respect, but I’m not holding my breath.
I understand that I am a strength and conditioning coach that writes on a blog–my moral abjects and commentary on a situation that is more complicated than we probably understand aren’t that significant. But there is another forgotten group amidst all the controversy in State College that deserves our support–the Penn State football players.
While some students riot in “so called” support of Joe Paterno, others condemn him and demonize him as an enabler of child abuse. Regardless of what side of the fence you may be sitting on, there is no denying that a group of young men has lost its leader. Joe Paterno has been beacon that has guided football players and regular students as an institution of Penn State since 1950–six years before my mother was born. Many players on the current team waited their entire young lives for the opportunity to play for the man that we in Central PA know as Joe Pa. Losing him as their coach three days before the seniors take the field at Beaver Stadium for the last time has to be frustrating, confusing and saddening.
Admittedly, I am not a life-long Penn State fan. The five years that my best friend played on the team are the only five years that I cheered for the Nittany Lions, and even then my cheers were more directed to #43 and not the team as a whole. But I can say without question that this Saturday–and for every Saturday until the close of the season–I will be a Penn State football fan. I want them to play with emotion. I want them to win. I want them to find their identity again.
Until the final whistle blows for the Nittany Lions this season I’ll always answer when I hear a lion roar WE ARE.