Blog Entry

Sports Appreciation Day "Just A Steel Town Girl"

Posted on: August 13, 2008 4:45 pm
Edited on: August 13, 2008 4:50 pm
 

Please forgive the "theft" of the opening words to "Maniac", but to explain how or why I've became a fan is best summed up in these words, because, in my heart, I'm "just a steel town girl".

How anyone can grow up in Western Pennsylvania and not have embraced one sport is beyond me.  Whether it was at high school level, college level or professional, sports ruled.  Society seemed to have rotated around the Friday night high school football games.  We embraced a college, whether it was University of Pittsburgh or, if your father attended Penn State, then you automatically seemed to become a Nittany Lion fan.

To try to remember when I began to love sports, would be like searching through the archives of some ancient library where there was no catalog system, so for the most part, I will say, as long as I can remember.  Perhaps it was because the men in my family always had either the Pirate baseball game on the radio or the Pittsburgh Steelers games on the tv.  Bob Prince and Myron Cope had seemed to be as much members of our family as favorite uncles were.  Perhaps it was because I was nothing more then a tom boy, that exchanged baseball cards with the neighbor boys, coveting my beloved Roberto Clemente cards, and using opposing team cards in the spokes of my bicycle. 

One thing I can say is that I was a fan of both the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Pittsburgh Steelers at that time.  Perhaps more so of the Pirates when I was younger, because, the time I was coming of age was in the mid-60s and 70’s.  How can you not love a team that had Bill Mazeroski, Willie Stargel, Roberto Clemente and Dock Ellis on it?  Indeed, even though I had yet to be born for the 60’s World Series, Mazeroski’s homerun had just seemed like it was done yesterday. 

I had never attended a game at Forbes Field before they tore it down, but had gained fond memories of attending Pirates games when Roberto Clemente had played.  Later in life I would get to see Barry Bonds and Bobby Bonilla and other “great” Pirates play, but it was that era that I recall the best.  Saturday or Sunday afternoon in the cheap seats of Three Rivers Stadium, throwing peanuts at the boys in front of us, watching the game.  The day it imploded, my husband had to console me.

It was in the mid 70’s when the shift-evened out.  Perhaps like the balance of a seesaw.   The Steelers had finally had a team that was actually winning and there was excitement to watch the likes of Terry Bradshaw, Franco Harris, Lynn Swann and so many more playing.  Seeing the infamous Jack Lambert smile.  What a time it was to be a sports fan in Pittsburgh. 

Somehow the stars aligned in 79.  The Steelers had gone on to win their 3d Superbowl ring, the Pirates would take the pennant, my high school football team made it to the State Championship and I was graduating from high school.  Our graduating class had taken on as our class song Sister Sledges, “We Are Family” and we were relishing in the fact of not only the end of one era for us but also the excitement associated in the area with sports. 

Soon I’d see the transition in players on “my” teams.  Pop Stargell and Terry Bradshaw would eventually go on to retire.  Yet my love for Pittsburgh sports teams stayed intact, but it shifted as I moved on also. 

I found myself more then passionate about Steeler football right after I joined the Air Force in 1980.  Not only did Steeler football become something I enjoyed but it was a link I had to home.  When I watched the game or when I met other Steeler fans, we had this bond, and for just a time, the home sickness went away.  And I looked forward to any time I could catch a Steeler game on tv. 

It wasn’t just Steeler football that I came to love, but the game as a whole.  This I give credit to some “hometown boys”.  Watching Dan Marino, Joe Montana and Tony Dorsett play was what attracted me to watch other teams and soon I developed a true love of the game as a whole.  There was still that hometown pride, when I’d point to any player that had come out of Pittsburgh, regardless of what team he was on. 

Yet it’s Steeler football that is my most passionate love in sports.  Perhaps for their history and tradition.  Perhaps for their style of play.  Perhaps for the ties to home.  Perhaps for what and who they represent.  It is this team that I will scream myself hoarse over in my livingroom every Sunday during the season.  It will be the retirement of these players and the induction into the HOF that I will cry the hardest on. 

What can I say...where ever I go...I'm still "just a steel town girl".

Comments

Since: Aug 26, 2008
Posted on: August 28, 2008 11:16 am
 

Sports Appreciation Day "Just A Steel Town Girl"

Just A Steel Town Guy

I was born in 1971. My mom told me that she was actually at Forbes Field with me in her womb, so I was technically there - tossing aside the debate of when a fetus can actually survive on it's own. My view, I was there.

Growing up in Pittsburgh in the 1970's was joyous. When I started playing sports, Clemente had already passed away and Stargell was King. I emulated his whirly bat swing the best I could, and even switched to bat from the left side. Ah, the good ol' days. Me, a lefty? What was I thinking? HA. I was thinking of making the Pros of course!

The Steelers were the thing, however. Lambert's missing teeth, Mean Joe Greene's coca-cola, Bradshaw's country music. Everything had a side story. Times were great. Black and Gold.. and sparkling white. Yeah, the snow. You can't think of Steelers football and forget about the cold white snow dropping through the gleaming stadium lights. Towels waving in all directions. God Bless YOU, Myron. R.I.P.

I was moved out of the 'Burgh around 1979, but I have always looked back. I make it back home a few times a year to see family, and a Steelers game or two. The games last only a few hours, but the memories last a lifetime.

Ah, the memories.

Thank you Pittsburgh.

 

 




Since: Sep 9, 2006
Posted on: August 15, 2008 12:01 pm
 

Sports Appreciation Day "Just A Steel Town Girl"

Scorpionbite, thank you for your story.  I can see why you would pick the Steelers ... lol.  Yes, watching Noll assemble that team and seeing them become as dominant as they did, was awesome.

Now if only they had drafted Marino when they had the chance...lol.




Since: Jan 9, 2008
Posted on: August 15, 2008 11:55 am
 

Sports Appreciation Day "Just A Steel Town Girl"

I have a Steelers story for you that you can truly appreciate. My first name is Terry, and as an impressionable young boy I became a huge Steelers fan. Terry Hanratty. Terry Bradshaw. You can see the ease in which a 9 yo could pick his favorite team. They were not very good, and a young coach named Chuck Noll began assembling a dynasty. I still have my Pittsburgh Steeler cards, an autograph from Terry Bradshaw that I got in Omaha, NE when Terry came to town to sing country music at the boats sports and travel show. Hows that for reminiscing? For my 45th birthday my son gave me a Terry Bradshaw card, encased in plastic and valuable. I brainwashed him. Noll went on to bench Joe Gilliam and put Terry back in the starters role and the rest is history. Thanks for letting me walk down memory lane mom!!!



Since: Sep 9, 2006
Posted on: August 14, 2008 9:03 pm
 

Sports Appreciation Day "Just A Steel Town Girl"

Thanks ktopp ,

Well, we all have reasons for being fans...and I don't hate you because you're a Badgers fan.  



Since: Nov 16, 2006
Posted on: August 14, 2008 4:55 pm
 

Sports Appreciation Day "Just A Steel Town Girl"

I don't know if I'm going to be able to help you Mom being as I am a Packers fan, but I just wanted to let you know that I got your back here. I'll stand behind you even though you are a Penn St fan and the Nittiny Lions are bitter enemies of my beloved Badgers. Great story by the way, I enjoyed reading it.  



Since: Sep 9, 2006
Posted on: August 13, 2008 8:10 pm
 

Sports Appreciation Day "Just A Steel Town Girl"

*sigh*

I'm not going to win tonight with either of you am I... (one Cowboy fan and another Patriots fan...go figure).

sheesh, where are my fellow Pittsburgh fans when needed? 



Since: Sep 9, 2006
Posted on: August 13, 2008 8:08 pm
 

Sports Appreciation Day "Just A Steel Town Girl"

Now Neil, why would I smirk behind your back...I'm innocent, honestly  

Not sure I'm a literary genius, but yes, it's more then the sight of nicely built men in tight pants...that's another blog. 



Since: Mar 24, 2007
Posted on: August 13, 2008 8:08 pm
 

Sports Appreciation Day "Just A Steel Town Girl"

Neil I almost fell for it and then I read your post and then mom added the Pens and Pirates, now I know you are right.




Since: Sep 9, 2006
Posted on: August 13, 2008 8:05 pm
 

Sports Appreciation Day "Just A Steel Town Girl"

Jelly,

You're correct that the makeup of Browns and Steelers fans are similar and for the most part, we do tend to have our hearts with our teams because it is born with us.  The fact that they do represent the hard working, blue collared worker. 

I know that many Browns fans had their hearts broken when Modell moved the Browns to Baltimore, just  as Baltimore fans had their hearts broken to see the Colts leave town too.

I love my Pirates and Penguins too, but the sports strikes kind of took the passion away from the games.  Though I still follow them, it's not the same as it is following the Steelers. 



Since: Jan 12, 2007
Posted on: August 13, 2008 8:01 pm
 

Sports Appreciation Day "Just A Steel Town Girl"

After all, love of team is what your blog is all about, isn't it?  Jelly, I am not sure we can take Mom's comments for face value, the lady has a way with words and is somewhat of a literary genius.  I wonder sometimes if she smirks behind our backs at her double entendre!!!


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