Joe Paterno’s ‘old school’ values | not bought-out by BIG Money |

Having watched the memorial service for Joe Paterno and attended Penn State University when I lived in Happy Valley for two years, I was really moved and inspired by what I witnessed in those two hours. Joe Paterno – as a coach, teacher and mentor – influenced so many peoples’ lives in such a positive way. A kid who was raised in Brooklyn and went on to coach college football for over 40 years; he left a legacy of honesty, loyalty, integrity and commitment. Beyond what has become the big business of football, Paterno was never bought-out. He remained loyal to his commitment to Penn State and to the players, whom he personally recruited and remained in touch with throughout their lives. He encouraged each player to strive for discipline and excellence; not only in sports, but also scholastically; emphasizing to ‘do the right thing’ ethically. Paterno communicated to each; to think first and foremost about the team, to play fair and to respect their opponents. He recognized that whereas success is measured externally by society, personal excellence is something internal, involving the satisfaction and clear conscience of knowing you have done your best.

There are a list of great quotes that Joe Paterno made, one of which one player stated has remained with him as a personal challenge throughout his life; “Today you’ll either be better or worse, but you’ll never stay the same … which is it going to be? It’s your choice!” His message always emphasized the “we” and “us”, recognizing that we are all in this life together, and that it’s up to each of us to help one another grow, and to make an impact towards making this world a better place! I’m humbled and honored by this man’s life, who has inspired so many to strive to be at their best, and to work together – regardless of race, creed, socioeconomic standing, for the sake of all.

Paterno represents an ‘old school’ of thinking, that our country has been moving away from; when credit and notoriety come to a person or establishment commensurate with what achievements and values they display, instead of being measured and valued quantitatively, by monetary means alone. A message diametrically opposed to what has overtaken our country today; in which BIG money infiltrates the media, government, sports and other arenas. A world in which “corpocrisy” surrounds us, and short-sighted goals are dictated by a few (the 1%), often resulting in crippling the lives of the rest, in addition to causing environmental degradation. These values that Joe Paterno revered were once the prevalent messages that the United States had imparted to the world, with great leaders like Martin Luther King Jr., before the myopic, economically driven pandemic rose, in which money has become THE incentive, choking out the spirit of these loftier aspirations. We absolutely need to honor leaders of this caliber, to disseminate similar messages, that will inevitably ripple throughout the world.

A fuse has been re-ignited today for me to presently write further on the topic of BIG money, which I’ll be posting on my other blog http://digesthis.wordpress.com/2012/01/29/the-collusion-of-big-money-eroding-the-quality-of-life-for-alls /