*Before you read further, know that we have nothing but respect for Onward State and what they do over there. Now, having said that…
So I read the first half of THIS Onward State article earlier today and decided to simply ignore it. Then, I saw a lot of tweets about it and decided to read the whole thing. OS writer Kevin Horne decided to offer some things that THON should fix. Now, controversial opinions are fine. In fact, they’re good. They make us think critically about things, and thats a good thing. However, this article was full of ideas that were outright ridiculous. Honestly, I couldn’t take it anymore. I had to rip them. If you haven’t read it yet, here are some of the highlights. (and my humble opinions about them)
[I lived and breathed THON for 54 hours straight. I had an absolutely amazing time, and it was certainly very moving.But I look at that sentence, and notice the key word. I – I had an amazing time. That’s a problem. I don’t matter at all, the dancers don’t matter, the THON Captains, Overalls, and committees don’t matter, Onward State doesn’t matter, and none of the 15,000 students in the building matter. The kids matter.]
Ohh Kevin. Of course the kids matter, but you can’t seriously think the dancers, captains, overalls and committees don’t matter. If they don’t exist, then THON doesn’t exist. Have you ever talked to a THON Family? Have you ever played with one of the kids? Have you ever danced with a little girl whose life has been changed forever because of cancer? How can you possibly suggest that the volunteers that give their time, dedication, love and passion into this cause don’t matter? I can tell you, EVERYTHING we do for THON is For The Kids. Dancers endure 46 hours on their feet, for the kids. The captains and overalls work their asses off from 6:30 am on Friday to midnight on Sunday, for the kids. Everything is done BECAUSE we all agree that the kids matter.
[If the fundraising efforts of THON simply ended with someone handing over a check to the Four Diamonds Fund, with no fun marathon at the end or tangible way to show the world what we did, would student involvement be so high? I say no, and that’s a damn shame. The 46-hour marathon is necessary for the kids but it shouldn’t be necessary for us. We shouldn’t need to see Go Go Gadjet blast Party Rock Anthem for us to care.]
At this point, I can tell that you’ve never been involved with THON. If you were, you would know that the money is not the main focus of THON. Sure, it is absolutely amazing that we raise so much each year, but THON is way more than a check to the Four Diamonds Fund. THON is a time when all Four Diamonds Kids can come to the BJC and just be a kid again. No nurses, doctors or waiting rooms. Just a room full of students telling them that THEY are OUR heros. That we care about them and that we are fighting their fight with them. Many families will talk about how THON is like Christmas for their children. If you think THON is a check to the Four Diamonds Fund, you have a lot to learn kid.
And finally, when you think it can’t get any worse…
[We shouldn’t care if the national media covers THON. It doesn’t matter how many people are watching on the live stream. I don’t care about how cold you were on a canning trip. It doesn’t matter who raised the most money, how many dancers your organization has, who sent you the best dancer mail, or how much your feet hurt. All we should care about is how our actions affect kids in their times of need. Let’s switch the focus from us to them — let’s make it a 46-hour KID marathon instead of a 46-hour DANCE marathon.]
First of all, why wouldn’t we want the media to cover it? At best, let it inspire other schools to start similar events. At least, let it be a statement to the world that this is who WE ARE. And bro – without canners freezing cold, without dancers pushing through pain, without the organizations and frats/sororities involved, and without the families and kids, THON wouldn’t exist. How do you not get that? And a 46-hour KID marathon? What does that even mean? The DANCE Marathon IS for the kids. You’re not making sense.
There’s more in the article, so you can read the rest here if you would like.
Look, I’m not saying THON is perfect at all. But my question is this – WHY in the world would Onward State want to publish something like this? An article discrediting the year-long effort of thousands of our Penn State brothers and sisters? Telling them that they don’t matter and don’t even belong in THON? Telling them that its wrong to be so proud of your school that you want to tell everyone about it? That’s ridiculous.
This is a cause that many have put their blood, sweat and tears into. This is a cause that brings the student body together like no other. This is a cause that truly helps families in need. This is a cause that makes me proud to be a Penn Stater. Why don’t you take off your “media” hat and be a human being for a second. You fudged up Onward State, Just admit it.