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  • margaretfmadigan

Throwing the Baby Out with the Bath Water

Sorry it’s been a couple weeks since I’ve written (oh like you care), but I was out of town tending to some very important business.  And it was while I was tending to that very important business that I thought of this topic.  Actually, I thought of it a few weeks ago, but this expedited it.

I went to visit my parents in Arizona because my Father is in poor health.  It’s ok, it’s what happens when you’re almost 90.  He was in the hospital a few weeks ago and I was talking to him on the phone, now mind you he was in pretty rough shape.  But I say to him, “Hi Daddy, how are ya’ doin’?” in my forced perkiness, he says he’s doing fine because he’s watching Penn State football on TV.

My parents both graduated from Pennsylvania State College (before it became a university), my Mother in 1948, my Father in 1949.  My Father first started at Penn State on a track scholarship in 1942.  He was there a year or two (can’t remember) then went off to serve in the Army in World War II.  He came back to Penn State after the war to finish his degree, that is when he met my Mother.  My Father married my Mother after my Mother graduated, because he didn’t want her to get away.  (Nice catch Dad)  And they spent my Father’s last year of school living in married student housing on campus.   That was pretty common after the war.  And in November of 1949, the first of seven Madigan children was born.

Jerry Sandusky wasn’t even born yet when my Father started college at Penn State.  Get where this is going?

I left NY and got to my parent’s house a week ago and there is a big Penn State blanket draping the couch, PSU glasses in the cupboard, and a gigantic box set of the history of Penn State football on the shelf underneath the TV.  My Mother stated she took the Penn State Alumni sticker off the car after the Jerry Sandusky disaster, because she said, “You know those people and their guns out here, some kook will probably shoot at me!”.  Yea, they get a little crazy out there in the wild west.  Both of my parents are absolutely disgusted by what Sandusky did, and are pissed as hell at the others who covered it up.  They don’t condone or deny what happened.  Believe me, they did some soul searching regarding their affiliation but decided they wouldn’t be forced to wear the Scarlet Letter.  (Now you know where I get it from)

Now back home my Father doesn’t have much interest in TV at this point, unless of course it’s college football.  Why am I telling you all of this?  Because a great number of people have made Penn State out to be a villain in light of recent events.  Now, now hear me out.  I think it’s absolutely disgusting, detesting, and deplorable what Jerry Sandusky did to those poor innocent boys.  I also think it’s horrendous for those other individuals who were in the know to do nothing about it or to hope it quietly went away.  BUT, I don’t think an entire university should be punished for that.  Nor should generations of students who went there before this happened.  Hell current students shouldn’t either.  Yes, punish Jerry, the coaches, Joe Paterno (they did and he’s gone), the Athletic Director, Board of Directors, whoever else who was proven in the know and did nothing.  But to punish the football players by taking away wins and barring bowl games is stupid and sad.  And for those of you judging at home it’s wrong for you to berate people on the street for sporting PSU gear, or trolling people on the internet who may have PSU pride.

Penn State has become a bad word,  like “liberal” or “black” to some.  Yes, I agree,  a strong example needs to be made.  People need to be made aware.  Like they say in New York City now, “If you see something, say something”.    Those who cover up child sexual abuse need to be punished too.  I know, I’m of an age where adults fondling kids ran rampant in sports programs, churches, and youth groups for decades and it was a taboo subject, no one spoke about it.  I have first hand knowledge of some abuse as an adult and you know my strong beliefs and outspokenness, you’d think I would have jumped up and started swinging.  Actually my first thought for a minute was I wanted to throw up and just pretend I never heard it.  It’s that difficult of a subject.  But then I collected myself and went to bat… with a bat.  No, not really, I just confronted it.  But I’m not saying that  excuses those who ignored it or covered it up.  In this day and age, enough light has been shed, there is no excuse to not talk about it.   I think men have a harder time dealing with the subject.  Women… our maternal instincts kick in, unless you’re one of the sickos that ignored your husband/boyfriend molesting your kids because it was better than being alone.  I digress…

Here’s my point, individuals affiliated with groups do bad shit all the time.  So every time should we vilify the whole group?  “Punish many for the actions of a few”? “One bad apple, don’t spoil the whole bunch, girl”?  (The Osmonds)  “Throw the baby out with the bathwater”?  That’s a favorite old Pennsylvania Dutch saying of my Mother.  I love it, it always rings true.  Anyway, so if we held tight to punishing or shunning the whole organization…  I’d have to leave the Catholic church because of all the sick sick priests who molested children and the higher ups that covered it up.  (Some people have left the church because of that, I choose not to).  Also, according to my beliefs and values, I’d have to leave the United States because we slaughtered Native Americans, held slaves, and killed people in wars.  (Hell the US still kills people and discriminates against gays, women, and races).  Then I’d have to leave the planet Earth because I am a global citizen and their are all kinds of horrific things going on like genocide, taking child brides (legitimizing pedophilia) discrimination against women and certain races or creeds.   Are you getting my drift here?

Penn State is a huge part of my parent’s life.  It is where their life together started.  It’s where our family started.  Hell the year after my parent’s left there, is when Joe Paterno started coaching as an assistant.  Penn State is a source of pride and good memories for my parents.  It is a great higher learning institution and is an affordable state system that allows many to get an education who might not otherwise.  And yes the football is legendary.  Over the years there has been a whole lot of corruption in college athletics.  We all know, it’s at every college with sports programs for decades across the nation.  Players get preferential treatment, grades get fixed, money gets exchanged, bad or criminal behavior is covered up.  It’s been going on for years.  I hate it.  But it’s the culture those men have created.  And yes I say MEN.  The good ole boy network supports it.  Anything for a win.  Anything to keep the TV and merchandise revenue coming.  Those men are to blame as well.  That culture needs to stop.

So should you then take Penn State pride away from my aging Father just because Jerry Sandusky is a depraved pervert?  As long as they clean house and the athletic department has performed it’s penance monetarily to victims, and whatever else… I won’t let you take away my parent’s joyful college years.

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