Tuesday, January 31, 2006


I am looking forward to Sunday.

I am what is known in this country as a Steelers fan.

No, I don't have a Pittsburgh Steelers license plate

Or a Pittsburgh Steelers table lamp.

Or a Pittsburgh Steelers Multifunctional Timer.

Or a Pittsburgh Steelers Scary-hat-on-backwards-mask.

Or a Pittsburgh Steelers popcorn popper.

Or a Pittsuburgh Steelers Musical Christmas Tree.

I don't have any of that stuff, nor do I have Steelers credit cards, helmet phones, jerseys, jackets, rugs, throws, keychains, or anything else of that ilk.

Although my brother does.

And one of my sons.*

And I used to have a Terrible Towel, but it got lost in a move.**

Nonetheless, I call myself a fan.

And not just a recent bandwagon fan either. For me, a 'recent bandwagon fan' includes anyone who wasn't a Steeler fan before 1974, regardless of their age, unless they can prove that they're from Pittsburgh.***

I was a Steeler fan in 1969. At age 8.

Chuck Noll's first year as a head coach.

They were 1-13 that season.

Their quarterback was Dick Shiner. No kidding. Dick Shiner.

More than a name: A hobby.

But Dick got knocked out of the first game of the season, and their backup quarterback came in and won the game.**** Unfortunately, he didn't get knocked out of any of the remaining games that season. All losses.

And I've been a Steelers fan ever since.

I can tell you not only every starting quarterback the Steelers have employed since the regrettably named Mr. Shiner, but I can name most of the backups as well. Plus, the names of the guys whose butts they put their hands under, all the inside linebackers, place kickers, punters, offensive co-ordinators and probably some of the practice squad goons as well.

But I don't.

I try to keep things on an even keel, for the most part, regarding all my favorite sports teams. Even the Steelers.

Because I've lived through years--years--where no professional sporting team I followed put together a winning streak longer than two games.

And as the coach of my favorite college team once said: "You can't make every game a life-and-death matter. For one thing, you'll be dead a lot."

So I try to keep things in perspective. I try to not get too carried away by the performances of people who don't even know I exist.

But you need to know that I almost pulled my arm out of my own socket pumping my fist in the air when Jerome Bettis scored against Indianapolis.

So, my Steelers-fan son, and possibly STBEW will be over on Sunday. They heard I'm making chili. And one of them told two of my nephews, who now also want to come over.

It depends on who they root for.

And now STBEW wants me to make guacamole. I make great guac.

Maybe I will make some.

But that's it. No more food, and no more people. Daddy needs some TV time.

I've got to find a new Terrible Towel.

I'm looking forward to Sunday


*The other one's a Bills fan. That's why I sent him to Iraq.

**I don't miss it. I was holding it when the Steelers suffered their only Super Bowl loss, so I figure it had bad mojo.

***Except my son.

****Terry Hanratty.


Blogger Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

Funnily enough I'm a Steelers fan, from 1986 to the present day. My uncle used to be a trucker over in the States and spent a lot of time in Pittsburgh. One time he came back with a Steelers poster for me and since that day I was a fan.

Just for the record when it comes to other US sports I support the following:

Basketball (my favourite and the one I can play the best): Trailblazers circa Clyde the Glide

Baseball: Yankees (sorry)

Ice Hockey: none, I hate ice hockey.

7:25 AM  
Blogger Jessica said...

Though I cheered for the Seahawks throughout the season (blame it on Al Holmgren's connection to Green Bay), I'm just rooting for a good game. None of this 34-14 or 34-17.

8:41 AM  
Blogger Balloon Pirate said...

OK, Daniel, you're not a bandwagon fan. Anyone who became a fan in the '80's has some heartache to share.

Jessica: You can cheer for whomever you want. As long as the Steelers win.


9:23 AM  
Blogger Notsocranky Yankee said...

I liked the Steelers in the '70's because they would beat the Cowboys. I even had 2 cans of Iron City Beer with the '79 Steeler's team picture on it. (My mother threw them out along with the rest of my beer cap/can collection when I left home for the AF at 18)

I saw the Steelers lose to the Baltimore Ravens Nov. 4, 2001. We flew the Ravens to Pittsburgh (in one of my favorite 757's) and they gave the captain and me tickets to the game. They were nosebleed seats in the new Heinz stadium but you couldn't beat the price! We had to leave at the end of the 3rd quarter to be ready to fly back to Baltimore after the game. (To this day Cranky calls Matt Stover (Ravens kicker) "my boy" because I thought he was a nice guy on the airplane.)

As for this weekend, I'm a little torn. Cranky and I had season tickets to the Seahawks the year before we were married ('92 season)and it would be nice to see them win. But I would like to see the super super super Steelers (like my beer cans said) win also.

But I agree with Jessica -- I just want an exciting game.

9:25 AM  
Blogger Colleen said...

I used to be a Steelers fan when I was a kid because back then you either liked the Steelers or you liked the Cowboys and I hated Jimmy Johnson. Even though I am a die hard Hurricanes fan and Dolphins fan...I hate Jimmy Johnson. And his new hair looks stupid! And he's an asshole.

But, sorry to say...I am cheering for the Seahawks cause I am always for someone who hasn't won it or even gone before. It's the Red Sox fan in me.

I'm a girl. What can I say.

But...rest assured...there will be cupcakes at the Super Bowl party...half Yellow and Black and half Blue.

9:33 AM  
Blogger Guy Wonders said...

I don't know which I like better, Dick Shiner or the hat-on-backwards mask. Dick Shiner wearing a hat-on-backwards mask would be good . . . I've been a Toronto Maple Leafs fan since I could crawl and went to my first game when I was four years-old. I fell asleep after the first period.

11:22 AM  
Blogger Balloon Pirate said...

Hey--it's been 25 freakin' years since the Steelers won--ten since they were last there! I'm dyin' here just as much....

Jerome Bettis...back home for his last game....

c'mon! Dude's gotta win. Carried out on the shoulders of his team into his hometown, local boy makes good and all that...ya can't write a better script than that!


12:46 PM  

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