SI Vault
Edited by Robert W. Creamer
June 25, 1973
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June 25, 1973


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Joe Paterno, who turned down a $1.3 million contract with the New England Patriots to remain as head football coach at Perm State, was awarded the signal honor last week of being asked to deliver the principal address at Penn State's commencement exercises. After apologizing ("You have every right to feel let down that after four years of hard work you have to listen to a coach at your graduation"), Paterno made some salient points. "The fact that there was generous praise from many places for my decision to remain at Penn State made me wonder just how strong our commitment to materialism had become," he commented. And, "One of the tragedies of Watergate is to see so many bright young men, barely over 30, who have so quickly prostituted their honor and decency in order to get ahead, to be admired, to stay on the team." And, "I'm sure it is obvious to all of you that you are going out into a fragmented, disillusioned and oftentimes confused society, a society that has promised more than it is now willing, or perhaps able, to deliver.... There is corruption, fear, mistrust, lack of leadership, unequal justice, privileged economic groups, all the abuses you would expect in a nation without consistent direction [or] common purpose [in] a people unsure of moral commitments."

Then, as a commencement speaker should, Paterno turned to hope. He quoted W. H. Auden on the death of Sigmund Freud ("Every day they die among us, those who were doing us some good, and knew it was never enough...") and said, "You may not make our society perfect, but you can make it better."

He said, "We will never again have supreme confidence that everything we do is right, not after Vietnam and Kent State...but we can stop tearing ourselves apart. We shall act with good intentions, but at times we will be wrong. When we are, let us admit it and try to right the situation....

"I tell my team: keep hustling. Go all out on every play no matter how bad things look, because if you keep hustling something good will happen. And usually it does.

"So keep hustling. You'll do all right. And enjoy yourselves, enjoy life. Have some fun. Maybe you will be the uncommon man who can do more than anyone, but in any case do as those two great losers in life, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, did. Have a hell of a good time doing it."


Caddies are a rapidly disappearing species in the U.S., but in South Africa it's the other way round. It is reported that so many caddies descended upon the Kensington Golf Club in Johannesburg that clubs, whips and an electrified truncheon were used to keep them away. The caddies then reversed their field and boycotted Kensington, charging that 150 of them who came to the club were rounded up and corraled in an enclosure with a guard dog. "Strict security measures have been necessary to maintain discipline," explained Arthur Huggett, secretary-manager of the club.

There is such an insistent demand for caddying assignments that the once-coveted post of caddie master is now avoided as a "death job." A caddie master was murdered last year, presumably by a frustrated caddie who was not given work.


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