I get it. You’re happy. You’re downright excited. Thrilled even. But knock it off already.
No, Penn State students aren’t the first to run rampant in the streets after an amazing win. And make no mistake, I totally agree that it was a downright fantastic win.
And we get to be happy. Let’s be totally honest. As Penn State fans, we’ve taken a lot in the teeth over the past five years. Our school has taken flak, and our team has clawed its way back from punishment that had absolutely nothing to do with any of the boys on the field or the kids in the stands.
At the same time, those same students have told the alumni that they need to get over things, that they need to let things go, that they need to stop pushing for the restoration of Joe Paterno’s name and legacy.
I’m not arguing either side there.
What I am saying is that if alumni have to model the kind of behavior they expect from the classes after them, then students have to live up to the requirements they are asking of their predecessors.
Nobody is helped by ripping down a street sign. Penn State doesn’t benefit by toppling light poles. Tearing a tree down, throwing a couch out of a window, none of that is in the tradition of “May no act of ours bring shame to one heart that loves thy name.”
That’s my heart, and I was ashamed. I believe in my blue-and-white heart that Penn State students are better than that, and this was not the first time that some of the student body run amok proved me a little bit wrong.
But more than ashamed of the questionable judgment of the students doing stupid things, I was appalled by the people on social media downplaying the severity and proclaiming that upsetting Ohio State entitled students to that kind of “celebration.”
Dismissing criminal behavior as something we deserve to do? Yeah, there’s no way that could backfire.
Our football team gave us a gift Saturday night. They worked hard and they gave us a headline that every news outlet in the country could use to trumpet Penn State’s name with the kind of pride and accolade we haven’t seen in years. Then it was ripped up in Beaver Canyon in the name of celebration.
We have shown joy without damage before. When the bowl games were restored. When the sanctions were repealed. We were excited. We weren’t explosive.
That’s what we should expect, and more important, what people, including those on social media, should encourage. We can’t repay success with dishonor.