The vision of the Sandusky horror is almost too much to fathom — a sexual predator allowed access to a hallowed sports facility because the men in power just couldn’t and wouldn’t systematically investigate one of their own. Disgrace to Joe Paterno, football sanctions, a mass exodus of players to other teams, and a university disrespected and threatened with a loss of accreditation, was accepted as the righteous result of their transgression.

Enter the beleaguered team and Bill O’Brien, the new coach, to start the season. The resounding “We Are Penn State” was down to a muffled embarrassed whimper. Then the team lost its first two games and it appeared that the humiliation and devalued attitude was here to stay.

Week three, and the team dumps gallons of Gatorade on O’Brien’s head after their first win. Weeks four and five and six, they win again and again and AGAIN. Is the Phoenix finally dragging itself out of the ashes of shower rooms and sexual perversity?

It’s fun and wonderful to win, but in this case, it’s not just winning a football game, it’s winning the battle against an infectious stigma that made a great majority of Penn Staters feel humiliated and devalued by what their elders did over a decade ago. I wonder how many PSU Ts and sweatshirts stayed hidden in closets?

Is this any different than what so many of us experienced at the hands of our own parents? Insensitivity, violence, sexual abuse and flat-out stupidity can obviously influence an entire life. The results of poor parenting —  depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem, are rampant in psychiatric offices. Helping a patient unravel how the past has unduly influenced his view of himself is often very helpful.

Like the changes happening at Penn State, we can also change. We don’t have to continue to feel trapped or controlled or humiliated by what our parents did or didn’t do. It’s wonderful to have a new hero like Bill O’Brien, but let’s keep in mind what happened with our old hero, Joe Paterno. He was simply a human being with his own set of limitations.

We need to embrace the hero inside each of us, the part that doesn’t follow the herd and does the right thing, whatever it takes.

Don’t forget to subscribe to Inside the Mind of a Psychiatrist.


About artsmuklermd

Award Winning Novelist & Psychiatrist --- Like psychological novels? Check out Chasing Backwards, a psychological mystery, Skin Dance, a mystery, and The Man with a Microphone n his Ear... Dr. Smukler has won the prestigious Golden Ear Award for excellence in teaching at Harbor-UCLA Medical center and excellence in writing fiction at The Santa Barbara Writers Conference. All books are available as ebooks and paperbacks. You can find them at amazon.com/author/arthursmukler or https://artsmuklermd.com/
This entry was posted in Childhood Trauma, Penn State, Psychiatry, Self Examination, World events, a psychological view and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to WHY ARE PENN STATE AND BILL O’BRIEN CHANGING THOUSANDS OF LIVES? By Art Smukler, author & psychiatrist

  1. I think we always have to be on guard….aware of the human need to ‘excell’, be exceptional, gain applause. I’m no more impressed by the new coach than I was with his precedessor…why are so many fascinated that the ‘team’ won a few games and slattered the coach with the proverbial baptism? Time shows real motives. Are these kids/boys/young men better people, better fathers, better at caring for others? Men are forever on a quest to slay, capture, coerce the weaker….Football is another form of testerosterone out of control and we viewers, love the blood. Man will be man…beware!


  2. stutleytales says:

    ‘Helping a patient unravel how the past has unduly influenced his view of himself is often very helpful.’ and ‘We need to embrace the hero inside each of us, the part that doesn’t follow the herd and does the right thing, whatever it takes.’ Wonderful words. I feel like standing up and cheering! Yes, I am my hero 🙂


  3. grassroots08 says:

    Hi Art,
    I find it extremely interesting how so many in our society have this ‘herd’ mentality. In the case of the chid in school whom the teacher bullied, by dragging her into the halls of the school for other students to ridicule on the grounds the young person was wearing a political slogan, is beyond me. I can’t even wrap my head around it.

    When I see such torment, I see it as an evil imbalance, but others would say it is simply bullying.
    Where does such deep seated hatred come from? It’s not just displaced emotions, but goes much deeper IMHO. The teacher in my mind needs an exorcist or a priest. I say this because “No one should ever do harm to a child”.dgford If it had been a boy, the shirt would have been ripped off his back, I’m sure.

    This was a herd when all of the student body stands and watches or heckles, and NO ONE steps in to say or do anything about it. The non-committal are as guilty as the hecklers for not involving themselves in some manner. This reminds me of the colosseum on Rome, where humans were torn asunder by lions, while others cheered or looked on in STUPID curiosity.
    Where eagles fly,
    Don (Greywolf)


    • wilaemerson says:

      You are so right…..how many people stand and watch? Often so many, it makes me think the populas is sick…..not just the one with the nasty mind, the strong hand. To stand by and say nothing is, IMHV, a sin/crime worst than the offender. The offender has the ‘guts’ to act out, the Stand-byer, is a weak coward seeking thrills.


  4. jannetrpv says:

    Sent from my iPad Jann Feldman😍


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