Nittany Lions Beat = Waiting For Joe Pa To Drop Dead

Posted in Gridiron, Sports Journalism at 6:03 pm by

Alternative headline for the above post was “PSU Football Writer Cannot Tell A Lie, Paterno Is Anything But Spry”. All kidding aside, Ladies and Gentlemen, while this rapidly-aging editor finds constant references to¬† Penn State’s 2000 Year Old Man head football coach as some kind of decrepit nincompoop to be ageist cheap shots, it’s difficult to take issue with the approach of the Lancaster Sunday News’ Mike Gross given that Joe Paterno began last Thursday’s media day by pleading the assembled press corps, “please don’t ask me if I’m going to die.”

He admitted that, “In the old days I used to grab a couple kids and shove them around a little bit,” but doesn’t any more, for one thing, because, “I don’t want to get like the guy at Texas Tech [Mike Leach], if you know what I mean.”

There were the usual assortment of questions about specific players, some of them relatively obscure players, and Paterno generally had detailed, thoughtful answers.

The exception was a fairly straightforward question about running back Evan Royster.

Joe had the questioner repeat it three times and never grasped it, so he launched into a monologue that had nothing to do with Royster, touched on the blocked punt in last year’s Iowa game and ended with, “That doesn’t answer your question, I know that.”

None of that was especially worrisome or even unusual. The problem was the mechanics (for lack of a better word) of his speech.

Words took a long, labored time getting out. There was elaborate, juicy slurring.

His head occasionally seemed overtaken by gravity, his chin dropping to his chest and his lower lip gaping open.

He acknowledged that he will no longer do the weekly call-in radio show that for years has been a goofy, alternately amusing and tedious but very real lifeline between Joe and the rank-and-file fans.

To that, I and a number of colleagues had the same honest, gut reaction:

Could he do it, even if he wanted to?

Then he got in his Mercedes and drove home.

Again, from the gut: Should he be driving a car?

One response to “Nittany Lions Beat = Waiting For Joe Pa To Drop Dead”

  1. Roger Greenfield says:

    Joe is what 84? 85?

    Did you see him at the Big 10 preseason meeting?

    Did you see him on the info piece for the Big 10?

    He comes across as an out of touch old man who is close to drooling and has no grasp on reality.

    He can’t stay on the sidelines because he can’t move anymore and there is no restrooms to use.

    Joe is in the pressbox because he wears depends and because quite frankly he cannot control his bowl movements aka intestional problems.

    The guy is long over due to retire, maybe he will star in the next “Weekend at Bernie’s” flick.

    Time to go Joe you have held on too long and it is a bad reflection on you and your legacy.

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