Penn State, sports, and hero worship

I DID NOT make all of my best personal choices at age 20, so I’m loath to place too much blame on the Penn State students who decided, Wednesday night, that their love for Joe Paterno was greater than their horror at the atrocities he overlooked in the football-building showers. Suffice it to say that this will probably not be one of the stories they tell their grandkids: “Yeah, I remember that night I pushed over a van because my college fired a football coach who coddled a child molester.’’

But mob mentality can overtake you when you’re college-age and possibly drunk, and when you’ve been conditioned to see your school’s football team as an extension of your personal identity – and its coach as some sort of demigod whose reflected light makes everything around you a little brighter.

The Penn State story is about hero worship, but it’s really about the last bastion of pure hero worship in this country: the kind reserved for sports.

Read the rest of the column from the Boston Globe here.

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