The phrase “thank you” lacks the full depth of gratitude that Penn State students, alumni and fans engender for that remarkable group of young men in blue and white who played their final season game on Saturday afternoon.
Just think of what they’ve been through together. In the rush to judgment that stained a program already stained by the actions of a self-deluded predator, a pious NCAA that opened the door for players to leave Penn State and immediately play with any other BCS team in the nation stooping low enough to recruit them. Aided by the acting president, athletic director and a Board of Trustees with an agenda, the feeding frenzy ensued.
It soon claimed, as program victims, a starting running back, a steady, reliable place kicker and sure handed wide receiver. This is not about them. They are gone. They are not bad kids; they are just no longer our kids. Rather, this is about those who stayed with us. This is about a group of young men who, given the easy way out, chose to fulfill their commitment to team, university, and community instead of retreating when the enemy hoards formed along the horizon. This is about the indomitable Penn State spirit which, against crushing odds and with every reason to succumb to self-pity, compelled the besieged remnants to band around their senior brothers and fighting back. This is about honor. This is the group that, no matter what future obstacles snare it, will prevail and prevail. So, thanks, Nittany Lions. In my view, the rewards derived from your courageous decisions to stay and play and complete your educations at this first class university translate to character. And character serves those who possess it, long after trophies tarnish and newsprint fades. It is the stuff that futures are built on. May yours’ shine forever bright.