I was born a Steelers fan.
I remember as a child every Sunday in the fall and winter, my mom watching Steeler games. My dad was a Dallas fan until his conversion after the Steelers lost to the Cowboys in the Superbowl in 1995.
It sounds like a religion, doesn’t it?
Well, it is.
I lived in Pittsburgh for 25 years. It is unlike any other city in the nation when it comes to sports. Pittsburgh is somewhat isolated when it comes to sports. There is no other big city close to it that competes for loyalty of the fans. So if you are born there, grow up there, even live there for a period of time, you eventually succumb to the black and gold fever.
And since all the major sports teams have the same color scheme, black and gold, it makes it much easier and cheaper, to show Pittsburgh pride. It is not uncommon to see a Steelers shirt worn to a hockey game. And visa versa.
Year round, you will see people wearing black and gold. Year round people will talk Steelers football. Football is numero uno. You can walk into any bar, anytime of year and talk football. There could be a serial killer stalking children in the city, but if Troy Polomalu is injured, it will lead the news.
When Ben Rothlisberger crashed his motorcycle? Dear God it was insanity. It warranted a break in regular news programming. For hours. I kid you not.
But the way the city comes together is wonderful. During playoff time, if the Steelers are making a run, it is so wonderful to see all that black and gold, all the signs, the songs. That is one thing I miss being here.
I get so excited when I see a Steelers logo on a car or someone wearing a Steelers jersey down here. Its like a beacon calling me to the good memories of Pittsburgh.
There are other cities like Pittsburgh when it comes to sports. My husband is an Eagles fan. I truly did not entirely believe the stories he told me until we had a recent visit to his hometown. The local sports talk radio station is on 24 hours. There are people that call in 24 hours a day to talk sports. We happened to be listening at 1 am coming home from a family function. They were debating the Eagles last season. It was mind numbing. They can really fill 24 hours a day with sports talk?
And yes, all the stories are true. The Vet, the batteries, booing Santa. There was even a fan that brought a flare gun to a game and shot it on to the field during a Monday Night Football game. Apparently the Eagles were stripped of MNF games for a period of time after that.
And the famous 700 level. My husband tells me wonderful stories about those fans. Good Lord. No wonder they needed a jail in the bowels of the stadium. And my husband has had the chance to visit said jail when his former brother in law started a fight in the stands.
So now we live in Texas. In Austin, the Longhorns dominate. It is a sea of burnt orange. The Dallas fans are here, but they aren’t as passionate as we Steelers and Eagles fans. My husband knows more about the history of the Dallas Cowboys and their current roster than most Cowboys fans.
My dad has NFL Sunday Ticket, so like always, we gather on Sunday to watch our games. If my husband’s game happens to be on during “our” game, he watches in another room. The house echos with alternating cheers and jeers.
Fantasy football is another post for another day…