Finding the Peace

The Penn State Cover-Up

Even though I am not really an avid “Nebraska football fan”, I was curious to watch the game Saturday against Penn state. With the sexual abuse scandal, the firing of Joe Paterno and the general public working to figure out what really had happened, I wondered if something great wasn’t really taking place. Perhaps, we were really going to receive the message that the sexual abuse of our children had to stop. As the game prepared to start, I watched the football team members on both teams make their way out to the center of the field where the players ‘circled in’ creating a red and blue swirl of colors as the two teams came together with one cause. As they gathered there, they took their position down on one knee. Bowing their heads we had silence as they participated in a prayer. The silence in the stadium gave us moment to deliberate as we allowed the silence to permeate within ourselves. It gave us a moment to ponder – to realize the reality of what had been happening all these years before to these young boys. It gave us a moment to wonder where these survivors were now? How had they fared as they made their way through the black hole they experienced in their young lives? Silence. In that silence the thoughts of the children haunted the moment. In that silence we were given the opportunity to remember the responsibility we have to our children.

It was a significant moment – the moment of the teams merging – the moment when we had quiet – the moment of reverence and prayer – the moment of remembering what the week was really about. And as I sat there, I felt the sobs bubbling up within me. The deep seeded feelings of despair that our children are not always safe, and we, as a society, often choosing to protect the wrong people in these situations. And somehow, I wondered if we were shifting as a society. In that moment, when millions were watching, the energy and focus felt like it was permeating the tough exterior of every hard-core college football fan here and across the world. Were we finally ready to stand up and have voice and say, “No more!”? Perhaps in this very difficult week full of turmoil and emotions, something great was actually happening. We were being shown the way. We were being given the message that we must stand up for what is right, no matter who we are. And we were watching how eventually our actions may very well come back for us to face in the mirror. So we must live with no regrets.



  • Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker
    Licensed Independent Mental Health Practitioner

  • Janie Pfeifer Watson, LICSW, is the founder and director of Wholeness Healing Center, a mental health practice in Grand Island, Nebraska with remote sites in Broken Bow and Kearney. Her expertise encompasses a broad range of areas, including depression, anxiety, attachment and bonding, coaching, couples work, mindfulness, trauma, and grief. She views therapy as an opportunity to learn more about yourself as you step more into being your authentic self. From her perspective this is part of the spiritual journey; on this journey, she serves as a mirror for her clients as they get to know themselves—and, ultimately, to love themselves.


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