Who can ever complain about the virtue of LOYALTY? This word can send chills down one’s spine. Everyone enjoys having a loyal spouse or loved one to live with. We enjoy serving loyal clients with our best products and services. We strive to create loyal employees who will help our business enterprises thrive. And of course we can’t forget to mention our loyal and loving dogs. The fact is, we can all feel warm and fuzzy anytime of the day, explaining and bragging about our loyal relationships with whomever and whatever pops into our minds.
However, it’s seems quite appropriate to discuss one special individual this week, who has personified the virtue of LOYALTY, in our modern day. Just when we may wonder if this virtue may be facing extinction, it’s refreshing to be able to point out a story of Loyalty, which still exists and is alive and well in 2005.
Our subject of discussion regarding loyalty is Joe Paterno, the legendary football coach of Penn State University. Here’s a role model that has influenced the lives of hundreds of thousands of Penn State students and graduates for over five and a half decades.
When was the last time you met an individual who worked for one employer – and the only employer since graduating college himself - for 56 consecutive years? That’s how long Joe Paterno has been employed as a football coach at Penn State. Now I’m sure there are a few rare specimens who have worked for the same employer for 56 years, who are still roaming our planet – however it’s like finding a needle in a haystack.
Now you can just imagine the number of records a truly successful individual can break and accumulate during such a long tenure at a job. But all those records are insignificant, compared to how JoePa has positively influenced the lives of students and graduates of the University he loves dearly.
If you have invested any time reading or listening to content I have developed at eHappyLife, would you have ever guessed that a large portion of my philosophies were gathered and nurtured for decades, from the philosophies professed and practiced by Joe Paterno. That’s the type of influence this individual has had on me.
Here are some examples to ponder, that Joe Paterno has set:
On marriage and family – Joe’s been happily married to Sue since 1962. He has five children – all Penn State graduates. His son is an Assistant Football Coach at Penn State. Now that’s Loyalty.
On personal development – Here’s what NFL standout and former Penn State player Shane Conlan had to say about Joe –“He's tough as hell," but he does things the way they're supposed to be done. He follows the rules. He believes you're there for an education. He teaches you more than football. He teaches you about life."
Check out his attendance record – In 55 years he’s been absent only twice for an opening kickoff -- at Army in 1955 due to the death of his father, Angelo, and at Syracuse in 1977 when his son, David, was seriously injured in an accident.
Here’s what Joe believes his mission is as a coach – “we teach about emotions, commitment, discipline, loyalty and pride. These are the things that make a difference in a person's life and make a difference in this country.”
On the subject of pride – I couldn’t be prouder than I am today as I witnessed Joe Paterno’s comeback season in 2005 as they won the Big Ten Title. After three abysmal seasons, any 78 year coach with nothing left to prove would have hung up their cleats. Critics called him too old and washed up and many news writers suggested he had to go for Penn State to rise. It took a special coach and a special individual to hang in there and do what he always loved to do; not give up; and bring more joy this year to his loyal followers, whom he positively influenced for years. Joe Paterno is one humble and LOYAL man – who I am so proud of – and wish the very best to. He also taught the old-timers another lesson this year, about the possibilities of staying healthy, passionate and productive, even as you approach eighty years old. We all keep watching him and keep learning every year!