Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Fallen Idol

I read with great interest a short piece appearing on a new blog created by one of my former students, Dylan Demkowicz. His site, straightforwardly named Dylan's Den, is in its very early stages of growth. Entering into his senior year of high school, I am glad to see Dylan trying to put himself out there and to "claim his own voice" in conversations surrounding sports.

What struck me about Dylan's post is his sensitivity to the symbolism of a stature erected in Paterno's honor. There are many who have voiced outrage at the statue's removal, claiming that this singular act - an act that stretched over the course of many years - does not annihilate his success at Penn State. This is, to a degree, true. Yet it is also true that a statue had been erected to a man who did not act, who sinned by omission, who failed by doing nothing. It is precisely this doing nothing that is so disturbing...and so much of an indictment of each of us. How often have we walked by a situation, or turned a blind eye, assuring ourself that "someone else will deal with it" or that "it's not my business."

It is sad that yet another idol has fallen, disintegrating under the weight of public scrutiny, disintegrating because of the years-long erosion stemming from a failure to act. Removing a statue does not change the past, nor does it erase the scars, but it does remove one further stumbling block - quite literally, a skandalon - from the road to healing many have before them.

If you have a moment, stop by Dylan's blog. I'm hopeful that with the Olympics about to begin that we'll hear much from him. Who a few years, when he makes it big, many of us can say, "I read him when..."!

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