Since the re-naming of Paternoville to Nittanyville yesterday, I have seen comments ranging from emotional to plain stupid. People have said that they have given into the pressure and that they’re cowards. Others have said that they’ll continue to call it Paternoville. Many have commented that it won’t be the same.
Actually…it will be EXACTLY the same. Nittanyville never had anything to do with Joe Paterno in the first place. It was a camp of amazingly loyal, devoted students battling for row-supremacy in next week’s home football game. It was the passing of time with bare essentials and scheduling to ensure that someone would always be manning the tent. It was pizza, trash-can football and socializing among young adults.
It will still be all of those things.
This was not a rushed decision brought on purely by pressure. The organization admitted that they had begun discussing a potential name change back in November. To discredit students like Jeff Lowe and Troy Weller as though they don’t love the organization is simply insane. This was not an easy decision, I’m sure, but it could have been. “Paternoville” was not the library or the statue, It was never really “in honor of” Joe. It was just lazily named, like many other things around Happy Valley, after the legendary coach.
Now, it is named after something far greater: You.
Focus at Penn State needs to be shifted toward the tremendous academic institution that it still is. Much like keeping names off the jerseys, naming a sect of students after one man wasn’t a particularly great idea, initially, but nobody cared because it was Joe. As someone (I can NOT find it) mentioned Monday on Twitter, “The Joe that you thought you knew would have never wanted it named after him in the first place.”
As for those submitting new names that include new head coach Bill O’Brien, I’ll admit, some of them are witty, but stop. It’s important that we learn from the past when moving forward. From now on, individuals should be looked past while the whole is honored and revered. Placing people on pedestals is a quick way to create an image that can’t be lived up to.
Nittanyville is a name that will never need changed.
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