The Penn State sexual abuse scandal is a sad testament as to how the rules for the game of football sometimes don’t transfer to the Game of Life. In football, young men are taught to follow the rules or they will get penalized and negatively impact the team’s success of winning. They are taught to protect the vulnerable (i.e. the passing quarterback) who can be powerless against blitzing, bigger men. There are many more parallels such as the responsibility that coaches have to oversee and discipline players who don’t follow the rules or perform to protect and block.
It appears the Penn State football culture was more passionate about preserving and performing in the game of football than doing well and being responsible in the Game of Life. Here was one of their own colleagues sexually exploiting and abusing young boys on their watch and in their showers. Why didn’t someone throw the flag for encroachment? In the Game of Life, you aren’t supposed to step over that line. Not only is it a rule among a civil society, it’s against the law. Why didn’t the rules for the Game of Life trump success in the game of football? Yes, it may have caused the loss of a good football coach, or created temporary negative publicity about the program. But, the focus would have turned to more than a few good men doing the right thing.
Throwing the flag and calling the authorities is the right thing to do when someone is witness to a man who has lost his playbook in the Game of Life. It is the right thing to do for the young, powerless boys who needed protection from a blitzing being aimed at getting in the backfield of sexuality.
We do, unfortunately, have predators in our midst. It’s up to us to protect the powerless from them. Football is fun to watch, but it loses its attraction when men lose at the Game of Life all while trying to build a winning program. Are we ready for some football? Yes. But only “yes” if football programs are willing to follow the rules of the Game of Life first and foremost.