So many people become more famous after death. JoPa is one of the few that experienced seeing his star at it’s peak during his living years.
Joe Paterno died Sunday morning, 85 days after being fired at Penn State, at the age of 85.
The ending to his life, his career, wasn’t happy or fairy tale. But as a wise man once said: There is no such thing as a happy ending, because if things are happy, then why would you want them to end?
The closing chapter can define the book, but often times it does not. What sucks you in, what makes you interested, happens long before the end. Has there ever been a movie series that the final installment was the best?
Such is life for most humans. All the highlights are in the beginning and the middle.
Joe Paterno was a great man. He did great things. Inspiring so many. Touching and helping so many. Teaching and influencing so many. We should all wish to live a life so fulfilling.
He earned a great stage, and did as much as anyone could wish to with the opportunity. “We are Penn State,” is the chant. “He is Penn State,” could have been.
An amazing feature today by Peter King on CNNSI about how Dan Roony in 1969 attempted to hire Paterno, and thought he had him ready to come aboard, but JoPa felt he owed Penn State more the three years he had given them and he stayed. Roony had to settle for Baltimore Colts Defensive Coordinator Chuck Noll. Funny how things work out. Two legends of football may not have been if Paterno opted for a big pay raise and the NFL.
He did stick to Happy Valley, and the rest is history. 5 unbeaten seasons, 2 national titles, 409 wins, and countless lives touched.
To say he was just a football coach doesn’t do the man justice. Justice, sadly, was a major topic in the final chapter of Paterno and Penn State. Reality is the sins of another attempted to take down the legend of Paterno at the end of his life. Jerry Sandusky’s actions, followed by a lack of reaction by many may have cost Paterno his job, but not his life.
That story was written already. And his family, friends, players, and fans can all be proud of who he was and what he did with his life.