I’ve been thinking long and hard about what I was going to write about the Steelers today and it finally dawned on me, I’ve shown you videos, told jokes, and let you read why we are the Steelers Nation. Now I’m going to do something I don’t normally do. I’m going to talk about myself and my family. I’m going to talk about why the Pittsburgh Steelers mean so much to me and my family.
See, I grew up in Pittsburgh. I was born here in Columbus, OH but moved to PA when I was 6. The perfect age for conversion and absorption into the Steeler Nation. My first six years only had the Ohio State Buckeyes (who I now loathe somewhat). Then I move to Pittsburgh, PA the most beautiful city in the USA. Three Rivers Stadium sitting right at the convergence of the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers forming the Ohio. I remember asking my Dad what that funny round building was. His reply? “ That is where the Steelers and Pirates play son.”
It was late 1979 and Dad did watch some of the Steelers games on TV. I was just trying to figure why all the people I knew wore the same color clothing on Monday’s and what the heck a Super Bowl was. Finally I understood that the Black n Gold was for the Steelers. On Mondays everyone was so excited about the results of the Steelers games that they wore the Black n Gold. I was in love. That was the first time I really developed an identity away from my family. It was official. I was a Pittsburgh Steelers fan.
My wife’s story is a little bit different. See, my dad designed the interiors of stores. Kind of a white collar job. Kristy’s family was as blue collar as you could get in PA. Steel Mills and Coal Mines. When the mills started going bad it so did the mines. For those of you NOT familiar with steel making it takes a LOT of coal to get fires hot enough to melt the steel.
The Steelers provide an identity for a lot of different types of people. As long as I have one piece of Steelers gear on when I’m out in public, I’m guaranteed one thing — I WILL run into another Steelers fan and we will at least nod at each other out of respect and recognition. In other cases this action will illicit a ‘Go Steelers!’ or a ‘Black n Gold!’. Quite frequently though it begins a discussion on the Steelers themselves, how they are playing, and their chances this weekend. See one thing ALL Steelers fans know is that we are going to lose some games. We aren’t greedy. No perfect season, no cinderalla stories. It’s about the ring.
Never has a team represented a population or adopted population better. They walk on that field to do their best week in and week out. The same as the Steelers fans do on a daily basis in their everyday life. We play with intensity, emotion, and drive. We play to win.
As a young man in the Steelers fiftieth anniversary year, I got to touch/ hold the first four Lombardi trophies. I’ve met many players including Terry Bradshaw, Joe Greene, and Jack Lambert. I’ve met Chuck Noll. I know artists and team photographers. I have a Steelers collection that contains photos, Three Rivers Stadium seat backs, autographs, artwork, Iron City cans and my prized Terrible Towels! But there is one thing that I love even more. A scarf. A striped Black n Gold scarf that I got in 1979. I wear it to this day. Our unborn child has 3 sets of Steelers booties already. We start at a young age.
We are the Steeler Nation. We are members until the day we die. We are part of the franchise history.