A new year has begun and so the calendar changed into 2012. For the last 85 years Joe Paterno has watched the calendar change as he went from a struggling young Italian boy playing ball in the streets of Brooklyn, N.Y, to a hard working quarterback at Brown University, to a legendary head coach at Penn State University, and finally as an icon of the sport of college football.
Yes, Joseph Vincent Paterno was more than just a man.
He was Penn State University.
He was college football.
For many of us who grew up in households around the great state of Pennsylvania, we heard tales of the great Joe Paterno. Whether we were playing the game of football or not, we knew of the man who put central Pennsylvania on the map. Some might say otherwise, but no one man brought a university to its heights the way Paterno did at Penn State.
He was a beacon of light for the people of State College who wanted their school to prosper, and he managed to win a few football games along the way too.
He won more than anyone in the history of the game actually.
Over the past few months though, this great man went through a lot of turmoil. From the Sandusky scandal, his cruel firing from Penn State, and finally his lung cancer diagnosis, Paterno went through a tough 2011.
There was hope that this year could bring about some hope for the Paterno name, and that as soon as he would speak again he could clear his name.
Now, we have come to this.
The loss of Paterno is not just felt throughout his home, the university, or even the state of Pennsylvania, but the entire world. Paterno was a fighter, a man who led his Nittany Lions to 409 victories in 46 years, helped many student athletes receive degrees and battled his own demons. Now the fighting is over and the resting begins.
Memories might be all we have left but his spirit will live on. Paterno can now rest easy knowing that what he accomplished has influenced so many.
They say heroes get remembered but legends never die. I say heaven just received another legend.
Rest in peace JoePa, you will never be forgotten.