It was quite a scene, one that is hard to forget. The wounds were fresh, no one knew what to expect, but I don't think anyone expected what happened. We all saw one of those special moments that makes sports resonate with the best things we aspire to, and regardless of what you think of Ron Browns mix of politics and theology it was a proud moment to see one of 'our guys' leading the prayer. Coming in to the B1G many of us were excited to play a game with Joe Paterno across the field, and not being able to was a disappointment forged under the worst possible circumstances. So we approached the game with big question marks: How would the Penn State players perform in the wake of such unbelievable events? How would they be coached in such a sudden vacuum? What would the fans do? What should we do?
Thanks to the efforts of some foresighted individuals, there was an answer: we should all join together and acknowledge the terrible consequences of the situation, realize that none of us had an immediate answer for it, and that the best we could do was seek guidance. Whether you are religious or not it was a powerful moment. In a contest where the object is to create a winner and a loser everyone was on the same side for a few unexpected minutes. And that made it made it okay to play the game and to celebrate the contest because we weren't ignoring the elephant in the stadium, to mangle a saying.
But here we are a year later. The ugly details have been aired, the perpetrator sentenced, Penn State football is looking really, really good (too good, for my comfort); so what do we do? Do we revisit the moment, if that is even possible? Or do we move on, letting it stand alone as a unique occurrence that we can wrap all kinds of deservedly feel good nostalgia around? Part of what made it special was that it wasn't a planned, packaged, media managed event; everyone was taken by surprise and that spontaneity made it even more powerful. Would it be even right to try and replicate that, or is that perverting one of the only special things to come out of that obscenely ugly incident?
What do you think?