Last night marked the beginning of the 2012 Olympic Games in London. The opening ceremony was given life by the images of workers reenacting the development of industrial London, the melody of an aging Paul McCartney reliving everyone’s favorite Beatles’ songs, and the track of several young athletes chosen to light the new body of the Olympic torch. Just as it was not one, but
many who ignited that flame yesterday, the torch was made of not one, but over two hundred imitation olive branches converging together at the climax of the ceremony. The message was clear; London does not celebrate the individual athlete, but the games as a whole. It is the community of everyone who aspires to attain an Olympic Medal being idolized, no longer recognizing the single soul standing alone in a tradition older than the country it is now celebrated in.
This is not the message being embraced by so many regarding the University I consider home. The cover of Sports Illustrated has passed its verdict on Penn State, judging the University to no longer be the institution of integrity it once was due to the actions of a few men. To applaud the meaning of the London Olympic ceremony, and then condemn Penn State by the same brush is a contradiction. For Penn State to accept that we live in a world where the community is celebrated over the individual, and yet an institution built by countless dedicated men and women for the community may be damned for the actions of a few would be nothing more than passive subjugation to ignorance. We will not accept that, neither as individual students, as a class, or a University.
In their statement regarding the verdict on Penn State, linebacker Michael Mauti put it perfectly; “This program was not built by one man, and one man sure as hell isn’t going to tear down this program.” The individual cannot be lost in this time of transition, be they victim, student, teacher, or coach. But we must look at all of them, seeing not only the bad, but also the good stemming from each person’s unique story. Let us not lose sight of those individuals dedicated to taking the strength and integrity of Penn State to even greater heights every day. Either way we choose to look at the world, be it collectively, or as countless collected pieces, we see that Penn State is more than the actions of a few. We must always recognize that it is those who still bleed blue and white, those just as dedicated today to an honorable tomorrow who disprove a cheap magazine cover, and prove that We Are Still Penn State.