Sunday, February 6, 2011

Go Stillers

Yes'm that's how Yinzers pronounce their own team (not Steelers like the industry which built Pittsburgh but Stillers as in Ben, the actor). That they butcher just about every part of the English language is one of their many endearing and charming qualities.

First and foremost I must disclose, I'm a Patriots fan but they're "Grrr...." not playing today so I won't go into why. But why I'm pulling for the Stillers has less to do with the team itself and more to do with the people of Pittsburgh.

We spent some time there on our way to Boston... we watched Fourth of July fireworks from the rooftop of the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society; had a police escort to Pup Nite at a Pirates game; and toured the Duquesne Incline. It's filled with hundreds of photographs that I stared at transfixed with tremendous appreciation for how hard life must've have been there only a few decades ago. The industrial parts of Pittsburgh were trapped in a permanent midnight from all of the smoke and soot from the mills. Daylight just wasn't let in and so many workers endured those conditions to make a decent living.

And when steel production got exported, they picked themselves up, dusted the soot off and a new city was reborn. Pittsburgh has lost 50% of their population in the past half century but you'd never sense it because their spirit remains unbroken. It's a city of grinders... it's a place where the average person can do the extraordinary. But most important for me, being born the year of the dog, is their loyalty.

I didn't know much about the Stillers back in summer '09 except that growing up in Cowboy country, many of the NFL's greatest rivalries were between the two teams. It was only when I was invited out to training camp in Latrobe to meet Big Ben (pictured nearby) that I began to understand that they don't have fans they have believers.

They care less about who's quarterbacking than the legacy of the team itself and they're so loyal that the mass exodus from the loss of the steel trade created Stiller bars all across the country like a secret cult. I must confess I've never been to one but being in Memphis today on this historic Super Bowl Sunday I should find my first one, hole up, and drink myself silly.

Go Steelers (Long 'e' guys, long 'e')

Love ya & puppy up! which you Pittsburghers (hah!) definitely know how to do...

1 comment:

Diana said...

We love you and the boys too Luke
From a girl in the burgh!