It’s difficult to say what hasn’t already been said about Joe Paterno. Though I can attest what he meant to me. I didn’t attend Penn State, nor was I recruited by him. But for as long as I can remember, outside of Alabama football, Joe Paterno was the reason I longed for Saturday afternoons.
The grit, the passion, and the prestige, Joe had it all — and he handled every bit of it with class. That’s what made him the man he was; as charismatic as they came. Possessing that Brooklyn spunk, he could chew you up and spit you out one second, and love on you the next.
Not too many things in existence can be represented by one single individual. But in terms of college football, JoePa broke the mold. He embodied it.
In anything, it’s awe-inspiring (and rare) to see someone give so much of themselves for the overall greater good of any particular group. But that’s what Joe did for college football. What he did for Penn State.
As evidence of the past couple of months, many can’t fathom how one football coach could be idolized by an entire region. But it’s just that, Joe Paterno was so much more. JoePa moonlighted as a football coach. He was a teacher, a humanitarian, an ambassador and he practiced what he preached.
Though Western Pennsylvania and the State College community have lost their figurative patriarch, his spirit of class, grace, and selflessness will live on. And regardless of what some individuals dispute, JoePa positively impacted more individuals than most his critics will ever imagine. If they were ever to accomplish even a tenth of what he did, they would be beyond fortunate.
Joseph Vincent Paterno was a class individual. He was not perfect, but he was unmistakably better than most. For as long as I walk the Earth I will remember him for the stellar human being that he was, without asterisk. God Bless Joe Paterno, and may he forever rest in eternal peace.