Sunday, January 8, 2012

Perhaps A Child Should Lead Them: In Praise Of Pitt's Standout Safety, Andrew Taglianetti

Andrew Taglianetti, with a brief and unscripted display of instinctive character, yesterday provided a moral example for the adults who have so calculatedly diminished college football and educational institutions in recent months.

Taglianetti (left), a fourth-year junior at Pitt, spent the first week of this semester's academic calendar not in class but instead in Alabama, learning that football trumps academics at Pitt. He was in Birmingham to participate in low-grade television programming masquerading as a bowl game, a farce whose result was not only deemed unworthy of mention on the Post-Gazette's main online sports page this morning but indeed was listed fourteenth -- of fourteen stories -- on the P-G page devoted to Pitt athletics.

Long after it had been determined that Pitt would lose to an unranked team from a lackluster conference, Andrew Taglianetti was still playing hard in the fourth quarter against Southern Methodist University. He tackled SMU runner Jared Williams with a clean, low, shoulder-first hit that, by gruesome happenstance, snapped Williams' femur. Taglianetti knew immediately that Williams had been severely injured; the break could be heard along the sideline. Taglianetti was responsible, but not culpable, for Williams' injury, but that distinction did not diminish Taglianetti's vividly displayed anguish. Taglianetti did not calculate; he immediately put his hands to his head, fell to his knees, touched his forehead to the ground, and rose to curse fate. Despite the apparent emotional devastation, Taglianetti approached Williams in an obvious expression of regret as trainers assisted Williams for several minutes. When Williams, prone on a gurney, was ready to leave the field for a hospital, Taglianetti stood with Williams (right), empathetically tapping the injured man's chest. Taglianetti seemed shaken for several minutes after play resumed.

Taglianetti's exhibition of sportsmanship, accountability, perspective, and decency would deserve credit in any circumstance. Its purity and context, however, created a striking, instructive comparison with the self-serving, substandard conduct of the grown-ups overseeing the seedy business of football at Pitt and Penn State. Penn State administrators, who focused on public relations and money after it was revealed that their institution's deplorable conduct had concealed and facilitated the rape of children, and Pitt officials, who have poorly served the student athletes they are ostensibly educating, could learn much from Andrew Taglianetti.

There is scant evidence that Penn State or Pitt has learned the appropriate lessons yet, but so long as our Andrew Taglianettis -- who deserve better from their elders -- are better than their elders, we are hopeful.

Infytune: Young Man Blues, The Who


deegazette said...

I often find myself trying to get young and old to become interested in what goes on in the world around us by pointing them to this blog. I sometimes use the great selection of tunes tied to stories as bait to stir interest. For others, I mention the wit and humor found here. Today with the Taglianetti post, I won't be gentle in my prodding of the people who matter to me. I figure everyone from third grade up should hear this story. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Agreed, this blog is one of the best things in town, I never know what I will find here but it is always excellent

rich10e said...

A good man from a good family and the product of a great high school, Pittsburgh Central Catholic, that puts an emphasis on scholar-athlete.

Anonymous said...

I know the Taglianettis and will make sure they see this. Andrew was a fine young man long before Central broke the rules by recruiting him.

Anonymous said...

@anon 1052pm... get a life birdbrain... CC is open
to all students regardless of location. he went
there because his family wanted him there!!!

Anonymous said...

Why was Andrew playing for Central, but not his brother? How did Sunseri wind up at Central? The answer is football, football. Well OK Central isn't ALL about football

for the record if Central would just stop bragging and claiming they don't cheat most people would just let it be

Anonymous said...

So here's a very thoughtful post about how adults could learn from Taglianetti how to act like grown-ups ... and some people use the platform to bash a high school completely unrelated to the issue at hand. Gotta love the internet.

Thanks for the post, Infy. I appreciated it.

Infinonymous said...

How sad that an attempt to salute a fine young man is turned into a depressing sideshow -- the e-mails have been far worse than the comments -- by those trying to score points for or against Central Catholic High School.