The hap-happiest season of the year finally has arrived. It's that proud yinzer tradition of salivating at the very thought of watching a few overpaid football players pulling big screen televisions out of their fancy cars before running wind sprints to open training camp in Latrobe, Pa. Of course, all of this is a welcome distraction from our bland lives (and the abysmal Pirates baseball club) in the middle of summer.
So how did we get here?
Obviously, professional football (along with the college and fantasy versions) has taken over our lives. But do the Steelers really mean more to Pittsburgh that other teams mean to their respective cities? I would have to say undoubtedly yes.
The Steelers will forever be linked with the molten metal that made Pittsburgh. But it seems incredibly ironic that the football team was becoming an unbeatable dynasty in the 1970s just as the city was losing that very industry. An untold number of yinzers left Western Pennsylvania to find jobs elsewhere, but they remained devoted to the team. Meanwhile, the Pirates' clubhouse devolved into a crackhouse and the Penguins were still awaiting the arrival of Le Magnifique.
Even as the Steelers struggled through the 80s, out-of-towners held on to the football team as the only connection to their city. I knew that feeling when I lived for a couple years in Charleston, W.Va., but made sure to follow every play from my living room couch.
Say what you want about the modern-day players who have tarnished the team's imagine, but I can't see a day when yinzers aren't frothing at the mouth as the Steelers report to training camp. It's a special bond between a city and its team... unless, of course, they go 6-10.
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