Saturday, July 28, 2012

Wear the Ring: An Anonymous Submission

         Wear the ring.
A couple of years ago at an alumni team reception, I was talking with a teammate. It was the usual chit-chat, but we each noticed that we were wearing our
letterman rings. He said he never takes his off. I have a few times (when I
was delving into the guts of computer), but I wear it proudly each day. The ring
symbolizes the never ending bond that we have with each other, and with our
fellow athletes. It is a bond that no one can understand, unless you have been
one of us.

Wear the ring.

Penn State is going through a tough stretch, and it will get tougher. But now is
 not the time to throw in the towel, wring our hands and give in. I really like
this quote from “Rocky Balboa” when he’s talking to his son. It says a lot about
 what all Penn Stater’s need to take to heart:

“You stopped being you. You let people stick a finger in your face and tell you
you’re no good. And when things got hard, you started looking for something to
blame. Like a big shadow. Let me tell you something you already know. The world
ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place, and I don’t
care how tough you are, it will beat you to your knees and keep you there
permanently if you let it. You, me or nobody are gonna hit as hard as life, but
it ain’t about how hard you hit, it’s about hard you can get hit and still keep
moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how
winning is done. You gotta be willing to take the hits, and not pointing fingers
saying you ain’t what you wanna be because of him, or her, or anybody. Cowards
do that. And that ain’t you!”

Coach Groves taught us to be responsible men, to take responsibility for our
actions both good and bad. To be a man and not point the finger at others for
our shortcomings. Every Penn Stater needs to remember that.

Wear the ring.

The sanctions on the football team will eventually hurt every athletic team at
Penn State, including the track and cross country teams. As alumni, we need to
be sure that our support is unwavering, that our loyalty to the Penn State that
we know exists in all of us is not hidden or put on a shelf just because of what
 has happened. As Michael Mauti said the other day, one man didn’t build Penn
State, and one man will sure as hell not destroy it.

Wear the ring. 

Wear it proudly for who you are and for what you, and we, have
done as graduates of Penn State. Wear it not with arrogance, but with pride and
humility that we were fortunate enough to be part of something much greater,
much larger than ourselves. Wear it to signify our loyalty to our Coach, not a
reverence or deification, but an honest respect and admiration for a man, a team
 and a legacy that still exists.

Wear the ring.

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