Sometimes I wonder if I really had a choice in the matter.
My sister and I were raised in Pittsburgh, PA by my mom and aunt who were Pittsburgh Steelers fans. Though they didn’t have season tickets they would go to as many games as possible, especially when the Steelers played the Browns in Cleveland. My mom wore Steeler colors and regalia on Fridays before games so if you didn’t know the Steelers were playing that Sunday you knew by her Friday wardrobe.
However, on Sundays is when my family’s love for the Steelers went into overdrive. We were regular church-goers but when the Steelers played they were a major distraction to honoring the father, son and holy ghost. When we were in church my mom would check her watch constantly; complaining to me about how the reverend seemed to extend his sermons so that people would miss the kick-off. Once the church service was over we practically flew to the car, barely saying our “good-byes” and “have a blessed week” to friends and fellow parishioners.
When we hopped in the car my mom would turn it to 1250 WTAE to hear the radio broadcast of the game. As the announcers babbled and Myron Cope screeched the color commentary my mom would practically scream “What’s the damn score? Shit!” Though my mom was a regular church-goer she was never quite able to remove expletives from her vocabulary. Throughout the twenty-minute car ride from church to home my mom and aunt would go from highs to lows depending on how well or horrible the Steelers were playing. When we got home my mom and aunt dashed towards the house to get inside so that they could immediately watch the game.
My mom and aunt would end up sitting in front of the television in their church finery, staring at the television until half-time. Then they would rush upstairs; get changed and eat their lunch in time to watch the rest of the game. Unfortunately, at that time we only had one television so my sister and I had a choice of watching the game or hanging out in our bedrooms. My sister chose her room; I chose the Steelers.
As I got older I found myself watching more Steeler games with my family which eventually led to the watching of other football games. By the time I went to college I was reading the sports page of major newspapers, listening to sports radio, subscribing to Sports Illustrated, reading draft news and mid-season reports. I simply couldn’t get enough of the NFL or my Steelers. Once I got cable and started watching the NFL Draft on ESPN it was game over. I had become a hardcore Steelers and NFL fan, my interest and knowledge surpassing my friends, family and even my then college boyfriend who played football for the University of Pittsburgh.
Nowadays on NFL gamedays I watch pre-games shows, several football games, NFL Redzone and post-game shows. The NFL Network has become my default channel. Every day I hit a bunch of sports websites (too many to mention) for team updates, standings and and other NFL news. I tweet the ups/downs of my Steelers and other teams with football glee. I post comments and analyses on sports websites about game highs and lows, talking trash, throwing around insults while simultaneously expressing my love of pro football. Note: I have purposely refrained from fantasy football because I know my addiction to it would be fast and furious.
Though I watch and follow a lot of NFL games and teams, my football priority is always the Steelers. I’m a proud Steelers fan, but not a delusional one (*cough* Redskins fans). However, my face frowns up and my eyes become squinty when people say bad things about my Steelers, even when they’re probably right. When I watch Steelers games I wave my Terrible Towel and yell at the television. I’m loud and it drives my husband and son nuts, but I can’t help it. I wish the worst game mojo on all Steelers rivals and their gameday competitors. When we win big games I yell “Go Steelers!” maniacally out my home window, scaring unsuspecting pedestrians. I get in funks when my team loses post-season. I have developed long-term, irrational hatred towards teams who have beaten my Steelers in post-season play. I have indoctrinated my son since he learned to speak to say “Steelers” when asked “Who is the best team?” My love for my team may have started out slow, but it kicked in with a vengeance.
Over the years I have seen my Steelers through great, good, so-so and bad seasons. Though I haven’t lived in Pittsburgh for years I have never thought for a second about switching my allegiance to another NFL team. I am a Steelers fan for life.