Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Monday links (on Tuesday): The Day We All Lost

Editor's Note: This edition of "Monday links" was going up Monday morning, but the tornadoes that blew through here around 4 a.m. sort of knocked me off schedule. My apologies, and here we go.

Like most people who love college football, much of my weekend was dominated by news about Joe Paterno, who really did die Sunday morning, only a few hours after the Internet briefly killed him, then brought him back to life in "serious" condition. There is no way for this blog to properly eulogize Paterno, who was probably more synonymous with Penn State football than anyone is synonymous with a single football program in football (that sentence made no sense, but I'm leaving it there).

And anyway, a number of great writers will discuss Paterno's life and death in detail in the coming days, weeks and months. Jack McCallum and the overly bitter and angry Buzz Bissinger are already on the case, as is the great Spencer Hall.
A 90,000-student university does not rise out of the hills of the Alleghenies without an anchor point, and a tragedy like the Jerry Sandusky scandal does not happen without an institution to shelter it. Build a pyramid around a live pharaoh, and you have a palace. Have the pharaoh die, and it becomes a tomb.
My memories of Paterno will always be affected by two things: That he kept Penn State football in a holding pattern for the last 8-10 years of his career (because he was afraid he would die if he quit) and ... well, you know.
Even so, he may be the last great coach that ever walks the college football universe. And I hope he's at peace.

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