Saturday, September 4, 2010

Penn State Football: Joe Paterno Introduces Successor

No one was surprised when Joe Paterno announced this week that 2010 would be his last year as head football coach for the Penn State University. In fact, until a few years ago, after successive bowl games named after a steakhouse (Outback) and a car rental agency (Alamo), many faithful Nittany Lion fans secretly hoped he would. Now, in the twilight of his career, Paterno has rebuilt the once dominant college football program into a legitimate national championship contender.

In his 60th year on the Penn State coaching staff, JoePa has won more bowl games than any other coach, including two national championships in 1982 and 1986. Legend has it he also quarterbacked the Nittany Lions in their back-to-back title seasons of 1911 and 1912, but there is no hard evidence of this claim as the camera was not yet invented. Needless to say these are going to be giant shoes for any coach to fill, and there has been plenty of speculation as to who will take the reins in 2011, including names like Butch Davis, Lane Kiffin (I know!), and JoePa's very own son, Jay.

Today, however, Paterno surprised fans and critics alike by hand picking a coach completely new to the world of college football. "Ladies and gentlemen," Paterno began at an impromptu press conference, "I know some of you will be surprised by my choice, but I encourage you to keep and open mind and trust that I have my reasons. That being said, I would like to introduce to you the next coach of the Penn State Nittany Lions..."

The crowd of reporters was bursting with anticipation, waiting for the future of college football to step from behind the curtain. Instead, a security guard with small, nippled bottle in his hand stepped to the podium and whispered into Paterno's ear.

"I hope you all have a few minutes," Paterno apologized, "Apparently it's nap time." After forty-five minutes of whispers, unanswered questions, and a cat nap by the 83 year-old coach himself, the security guard returned to let Paterno know the new coach was ready. "Let's try this again," Paterno said, "Ladies and gentlemen - please give a warm, Penn State welcome to your future coach...Amari Becker Fishman."

The silent press room sat stunned - probably by undeniable cuteness - with everyone waiting for someone else to speak first. Paterno jumped in, as he always has, and cut straight to the point. "Listen," he said, "I don't want to hear anyone to rush to judgment. I don't want to read articles about things like inexperience, no proven track record, or the complete inability to talk. You know what - people said those same things about me when I walked onto Penn State's campus back in 1949. These are the facts - Amari B is my hand-picked successor for the very simple fact that she can connect with today's youth, today's recruiting classes, and most importantly, this year's freshman quarterback, Robert Bolden. They've already met once and Bolden says they're one hundred percent on the same page. I don't think anything else matters."

The security guard stepped up to the podium again, whispered in JoePa's ear, picked Amari up to smell her diaper, and then hurried her off stage. The press conference was over, leaving a room full of reporters wondering what they'd be asking Amari B Fishman this time next year.

Amari B will get her first in-game experience on the sidelines next week against the defending national champion Alabama Crimson Tide.


That's it. Thanks to my wife, I found the bridge between my new and old blog content. Thank you, Carrie. Now I can imagine all the possibilities of who, what, where, and when Amari may be when she grows up.

More later. Trust me. This is going to be fun.

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