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February 21, 2013

Tim Kolodziej: How will you remember me when I’m gone?

NEW CASTLE — Legacy.

We’re all creating one by the day.

And we’ll all leave one eventually.

So, how do you want to be remembered?

I mean, when it’s your time to leave this earth, how will those in the community reflect on your achievements?

Will you be thought of as ...

•A tireless worker?

•A talented jack of all trades?

•A whiz on the computer?

•One of the funniest people we’ve ever been around?

•A really nice guy?

•A great friend?

•A good husband?

•A devoted mother?

•The winningest coach at (pick a sport)?

•A dedicated volunteer at church?

All of the above?

Or other.

Aw, it really doesn’t matter anyway.

“I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.” — Bill Cosby

Legacy.

That word has been on my mind as the Paterno family has set out to undo the Freeh Report, which accused legendary Penn State football coach Joe Paterno of being aware that Jerry Sandusky sexually abused boys through the years.

During an interview on the “Katie Couric Show,” Paterno’s daughter, Mary Kay Hort, said the family is speaking out now because it’s the “right thing to do.”

“My dad was all about honesty, integrity, commitment and hard work,” Hort said.

The Paternos, it appears, simply want to restore Joe’s legacy.

Two questions immediately popped into my mind:

1) Isn’t it good enough that the family — and probably anyone who played for him — remember Joe in a noble way? I mean, who really cares what I or some lady in Frogspit, Idaho, think about him?

2) What, exactly, was Paterno’s legacy around the nation before November 2011, when Sandusky was arrested and charged?

•Would he have been remembered as the winningest football coach in Division I history?

•A man who cared as much about academics as he did football?

•A man who loved his university and community and emptied his wallet often to prove it?

•A legend worthy of a statue at Beaver Stadium?

•Or a sanctimonious know-it-all who ran from previous rivalries and ruined Eastern football?

•Or an old curmudgeon who stayed at Penn State for far too long after the game had passed him by?

•Or a “phony” who played the corrupt NCAA system like any other coach?

Was Joe all of the above?

Or other.

Aw, it really doesn’t matter anyway.

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