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Beards, Moving Forward and Fighting Cancer

by on May 22, 2013 6:27 AM

Along with the NHL playoffs comes excitement, opportunity, drama and the playoff beard! I decided this year to participate in the growing of the playoff beard to assist my beloved Penguins in their quest for Lord Stanley’s Cup.

As someone who has been clean-shaven my entire life, this is a brand new experience. It's been fun to see peoples' reactions. Some seem to get a kick out of it. Others seem to be mortified. Some actually like the look.

I like it because it’s still growing and it means the Penguins are still playing hockey. It is not unlike the first time I wore glasses in high school. The playoff beard is like some sort of social experiment -- one I’m hoping lasts for more than another month. Let’s Go Pens!

The Sports Illustrated story is stirring up passions at Penn State again. From this vantage point there is plenty of irony. Let me clearly and unequivocally state that I do not believe the medical care of Penn State athletes has been compromised in any way.

But the aggressive attacks on the people who raised the question seems odd to me. A lot of folks seem angry that anyone would question the head coach's decision-making. These same critics are upset that more people didn’t question Joe Paterno long ago. Is it okay to question the head coach or not?

I loved the way Penn State aggressively got out in front of the story and responded directly with an abundance of evidence and facts to support its case. I can’t help but wonder what would have happened if that same response had been given when the NCAA questioned its “culture.”

Where were the comparisons of similar programs and the cultures there? Penn State did a great job in defending its medical practices and procedures. If only it had defended itself half as well or with half the vigor in the wake of the Sandusky scandal.

It is also intriguing to me that many in the media are upset at the “Joebots” or anyone who dares to question the validity of the Freeh report. These people say that a new era at Penn State has begun and seeking the truth of past transgressions or injustices harms the effort to bring the community together and move forward. Yet, the people who handled, or I would argue mishandled, the crisis at Penn State are the ones we are to rally behind?

In short, the people who continue to seek the facts and get the entire story of what happened at Penn State out and the people who want the leadership at Penn State held accountable for its actions - these are the people who are the problem and are undermining the potential success for Bill O’Brien and the Nittany Lions?

But the people who readily agreed to sanctions that limit his program to 65 scholarships a year and ban his program from bowls and who agreed that the culture at Penn State was a problem that needed corrected - these are the people the University community should rally behind to help Bill O’Brien and the Nittany Lions be as successful as possible? Okay, just wanted to make sure I had that straight. With friends like these, Bill...

It is hard to imagine any of us who haven’t been hit by cancer in some way. There are few, if any, people that get to adulthood without knowing a family member or friend who has been diagnosed with some form of cancer. Many of us want to help and there are various ways to do so. But there is a simple way you can make a huge impact on our understanding of cancer and how it works.

The American Cancer Society is asking for volunteers for its Cancer Prevention Study-3. If you are between the ages of 30 and 65 and have never been diagnosed with cancer and are willing to answer survey questions every few years, you can be a part of this important study. The study is starting up in early June and the ACS is seeking help from a community that has plenty of reason to heed the call to service. Please give serious consideration to committing to this very worthwhile cause.

You can get more information by clicking HERE or you can call toll-free 1-888-604-5888.

Jeff Byers has been the wrestling team’s traveling announcer since 1990.
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