Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Steeler Country

I'm still in Pittsburgh, where all the talk is of the Steelers. If you can imagine the entire Kentucky basketball fan base crammed into a few valleys in western Pennsylvania -- and if Kentucky only played 16 regular season games per year -- you would have a good sense of what it's like to be in Pittsburgh just a few weeks before the new NFL season. My cab driver was talking about the Steelers, the accountants I met with today were talking about the Steelers, the restaurant I ate in tonight was full of Steeler posters -- they had a great one from the Joe Greene Coca-Cola commercial -- excitement was in the air.

But realism is in the air as well. Like Kentucky basketball fans, Steeler fans feel the burden of their history. They have learned, through decades of experience, how hard it is to go all the way, and they know that most seasons end in disappointment. So you don't here a lot of goofy optimism up here. Some folks think they'll go 8-8, others think they'll make the playoffs -- a few will allow that this team might turn out to be pretty good.

I hope the Steelers do have a good year. I have not seen any city as large as Pittsburgh that gives off such an air of being a hometown. Almost everyone you meet grew up here. They constantly refer to buildings by describing what they "used to be." You go to that place that used to be the Westinghouse building. You go over to where the Mellon Bank used to be. And when they talk to each other, they tell what neighborhood they're from and where their kids go to school -- and everyone seems to know what each of the neighborhoods means. In short, it is a wonderful place to be a sports fan -- the sort of place where everyone is on the same page and everyone roots for the same team. And, when you think about it, that's pretty much how the book of Revelation describes Heaven.

1 comment:

  1. it's a great city, and this is a great post to which i will refer Rob.