In the fiery debates going on about the passing of the man, there is a vacuum of discussion of a point which I feel needs to be made. I must begin this diary with another truth, that I need you to notice. I am NOT a victim of Jerry Sandusky. I have never met him. It's important.
Follow me below the
squiggledoodlethingey fold, and let's look into it.
Joe Paterno died. He's gone. These are the facts we know. Period. I hold no animas toward the Coach, his family, his friends, his colleagues or his football teams. I hold no aminas against those who are railing against him, the team, the program, or the University.
Draw a line there. Because there is a serious animas which I do have. It's personal, but I also believe it is the most important thing in this conversation. I can't get it out of my head, or my heart. I wonder if you can help me do that. I'm going to try. Here. Now.
From 1998 to 2012 is a period of more than 14 years, if you count until today. I do not have a correct count of many things. But this is accurate, and factual. Let's stick with the facts, and stop for a moment, just for a moment, the considerations of presumption, allegations, etc. Because, what is bothering me is solid, physical reality.
Okay, now that we've agree to that, I want you to fully engage your imagination for just a few moments.
Think, for just a moment. Imagine you are a victim of Jerry Sandusky. For me, it's easy. For you, it may not. Do the work. When you get there, read on. Until you do, work on that.
If you have arrived at that imagined reality, let's walk together for a bit.
Imagine it's Saturday. Game Day at Penn State. In State College, PA, the place you call home. You see Coach JoePA, and his coaches take the heavenly field of battle at Beaver Stadium. You have walked past the statue of JoePA, and taken your place in the stadium.
Or not. Perhaps you don't pay notice of the game, because you cannot. You must not.
All day long, there is but one question in your mind. What do you think, as the heraldry, pomp and circumstance of the most worshipped activity in your home town begins to play itslef out?
I'll tell you.
"Why is there nobody who will believe me or help me?"
Perhaps your violent abuse began in 2000. Yet, every single time this fanfare plays itself out, there is the reality that you do not matter. No matter how else that day plays out, the amount of concern of the folks in your town is whether or not the team wins. Otherwise, how will the community share the grief of a loss?
You know about loss. You have lost everything. You have lost your childhood, your innocence. You have lost your family, because you dare not admit to the unbelievers who patronize the perfection of the coach, the team, and THAT MAN! You avoid, and cannot invest in your friends, because they must not know your secret. No one can know your secret. Not here. Not with these people.
Meanwhile, he continues his strange and dangerous game. With you. For years. Then, as he finds new, more interesting, better looking...younger boys to "play" with, you are cast aside, a dead carcass. But you know that you can say nothing.
Every game reminds you. Every time you see that strange parade play out on the telvision, or read the articles in the newspaper, you know. You remember.
That's all you have left, because you do not exist. You do not matter. Your only responsibility is to maintain your silence, no matter what your life brings you.
Saturday after Saturday, you know, but can do nothing. It may have taken a long time to get you where you are. It may have only been one occurrence, one "sleep over" at the Coach's house. But, it happened. To you.
How do you feel now?
You see, I cannot get over the truth of all those "Saturdays of Silence", of fear. Seeing those who will not admit, or refuse to help, lifted up as heroes has an effect on you. It really doesn't matter, because you do not matter.
How many are there who are just like you? You may not know of another person who, like yourself, got bought into the terror. But, it IS terror that will never go away. And every time the team takes the field, you are reminded. You have to silently suffer the terror all over again. But what you MUST do is to remain silent. That is, you see, the only reality in your life, the only reality that matters, to anyone. But, most especially, it is a reality YOU must maintain, at all costs. That is the full and complee meaning of your life now.
Fourteen years. How many of them are there, really? Where are they? How many more Saturdays must each of them endure? How many more Saturdays will they not matter? It isn't the why that bothers me so much, it is the "how many". Where are they? How do we reach them, and begin the terribly difficult task of rebuilding a life, time after time, after time again?
Every moment we don't means that there will be another "Saturday of Silence", living the husk of a completely destroyed life in the shadow of that place, and those people.
I want no more "Saturdays of Silence". None. That, for me, is the only thing this entire passion play brings to my mind. And, as I consider this point, I understand their terror. I know their lives.
It is an absolute truth, you see, that there are those of us who, regardless of the opportunities available to us, simply do not have the fuel required to get to them. So, those who care most must come to us. Yet, we must remain invisible, silent. Unremarkable. Why?
Because it's almost Saturday.