Last Monday night, I took My Little Big Man to his first pro football game. Eagles vs. Bears. Our team stunk and lost, but we still had a ball. Charlie is enthusiastic about everything in life...and many of the fans sitting around us enjoyed watching his unbridled enthusiasm at the game. It was awesome. He loved it. We loved it.

Next to Charlie was a pretty drunk guy. He was fun, nice...but drunk. Behind us were two pretty girls. He flirted with them nonstop. By the midpoint of the second quarter, "drunk guy" bought each of the girls three $8 beers. $50 later, while they kept humoring him, he noticed that they were laughing at and enjoying Charlie a hell of a lot more enthusiastically than they were responding to him. So to his credit, he switched gears and made a power move. He befriended Charlie...joking with him, talking football with him, you know, much like a puppy, or a corvette....he saw Charlie as his conduit to the hot chicks. So as we neared halftime, he drunkly and loudly offered to buy Charlie a hot dog and a Pepsi...making sure that the girls could hear of his generosity over the crowd. I guess he figured he already dropped $50 on his efforts up to this point...why not drop another $12 on the kid and swing for the fences? And who said the days of transparency were dead?

Unfortunately, his chick momentum came to a grinding halt when Charlie yelled "I don't eat hot dogs, I'm a vegan!" His blank expression was only topped by the reaction of the pretty girl. She yelled: "You're a vegan? I'm a vegan! I love vegans." Drunk guy looked at his friend with that "What the hells a vegan" look. A travel soccer team? His school mascot?  Some fringe religion? His dad's motorcycle gang?

Well it soon became obvious to Drunky what a "vegan" was as he heard us all start talking about our favorite foods/restaurants....you know the drill. The enthusiasm of our new friend was more than he could handle. As he sunk in his seat, Charlie rose from his, after the woman asked if they could have their picture taken together. That's the picture above. Charlie's rap kicked the bigshot's ass.

Isn't it funny what a club this is? Any time we're in a line, or anywhere in public, if we see or hear that someone else is vegan, we jump right into a conversation about it. We'll share our favorite restaurants, foods, reasons for doing it, etc. It's like a big freakin' fraternity. Amazing!

On a very somber note...but a critically important one....it's impossible to speak of kids and football and not address the Penn State tragedy. I was a proud alum.....and an even prouder dad of my older son who started at Penn State this Fall. Penn State is the storehouse of some of my best memories and the place where I met many of my best friends. Before about ten days ago....I would have argued that Joe Paterno did more for Penn State and it's reputation, growth and success than any other person did for any school in the country. Now, I am so ashamed of him, so ashamed of everyone above and below him, that words can't express my angst over this transformation.

But worse, far worse, is my angst over the devastation that this animal caused to so many children....only to be overshadowed by the cowardice and greed exhibited by those who could have easily stopped it.....from the janitors that saw it, to the other coaches, to Paterno and all those between him and the President of the University. As a lawyer, I know that this story will only get worse and sicker as it unfolds.

My conflict over my feelings about this consumed me last week. This conflict consumed my PSU friends as we argued fiercely over the best way to address this. It's unfathomable to me that in a world of tough guys who preach honor...that not one of them......none of them....had enough integrity to stand up and protect these kids who needed their help. Joe was a hero...a role model. Ironically, what attracted these poor kids to his football field...led to the the most frightening and abusive nightmare a child can face. Shame on you Joe....shame on all of you.

My deepest regrets and prayers go out to these kids and their families. I feel selfish to be focused on the loss of pride in this place I've loved since I was a boy....but from the bottom of my heart....I pray that you can recover from this devastation. I also pray that the collective consciousness of our private and public institutions of all types is impacted enough that this tragedy is prevented as our society moves forward.


When I was 9 years old, in 1969, my Dad took me to my first Penn State football game. We beat Missouri 10-3 in the pouring rain. It was the year of our first national championship. From that day on, it was the only college I wanted to attend. The same thing happened to my son Ethan after his first Penn State football game. I remember how amazed he was to look out on 106,000 people dressed in blue and white and feeling the stadium shake as we all danced and cheered after each touchdown. He loved taking part in his first live: "WE ARE......PENN STATE!!" Now 10 year old Charlie attends his first pro game and can't wait for his first Penn State football game next year. He already told me and Amy he wants to go to Penn State.

How could this have happened to this glorious pastime and rite of passage? How could it be abused in this way?

At this point, I can only remain committed to remaining healthy and active....so I can always be mindful of my commitment to love, support and protect my kids, the kids of my relatives and friends, and any other children that I can impact in a positive way.

Onward and downward!