I say JoePa.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is my favorite picture of me (as it was the ’80s, I give myself a pass for the glasses). I did not know it had been taken, until it was given to me as a gift by a dear friend (that’s the back of her blond head) many years later. While I know I have felt that much joy at other times, I had never seen what that feeling looks like on my face. Knowing what that looks like is a gift, and I am deeply, deeply grateful for it. Every time I look at it, I am reminded of that feeling of pure unadulterated joy, of belonging, of excitement — of feelings that can not be explained fully with words. Just look at my face.

I credit a single person for creating the place in which I could experience what I felt in that photo. I am deeply, deeply grateful to Joe Paterno for that gift. And that will never change.

I don’t expect non–Penn Staters to understand — even some Penn Staters probably don’t — but Penn State football and Joe Paterno mean much more to me than can be explained fully in words. Just look at my face.

 

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