Dear Mr. Rooney, Coach Tomlin, et al:
Hi. You don’t know me; we’ve never met. I am just another of the millions that are proud to be a part of the Steeler Nation…most of the time. You see, I came into the world a Steeler fan 36 years ago. I came up in a part of PA where Friday night was high school football, Saturday morning was pee-wee football, Saturday afternoon was college football and Sunday was the icing on the football cake with the Steelers. My father played, my brother played, and I played PowderPuff. In high school, it wasn’t enough for me to be the mascot and cheer on our football team. It wasn’t enough to be a cheerleader and cheer on our football team. I did both, but I didn’t find true happiness until in my senior year, I was the first (and last) female manager of our football team. So yes, I know from football.
I’ve followed the Steelers with a passion for over two decades. I’ve been fortunate enough to meet many of the players. I’ve been through the ups and downs right there with the rest of the Steeler Nation. I understand that no one is perfect and no one (in current times) is going to win all of their games (without the help of the NFL *AHEM*), but this season has been an extreme disappointment to all of us. I’m sure that I don’t need to point out that we’re in a downward spiral, losing three of four to the crappiest teams in the NFL. Now, the last time that I checked, not a single member of the organization was a cardiac surgeon, so if you’d kindly stop ripping out my heart, I would appreciate it.
Maybe I’m to blame. Maybe I jinxed the team. See, I don’t live in the viewing area so I only see the nationally televised games. But, the Steelers are my team and simply waiting on the updates on line wasn’t enough. Last year (and a few before that), I listened to our hometown guys doing the game on Sirius and that was great, getting to hear a little slice of home. This year, however, I decided that just hearing the game wasn’t enough. I wanted to see every game and not just the nationally televised one, so I got Sunday Ticket.
Let me explain a little something here. I love my team, no matter how well/badly they’re doing (on a Superbowl high when I made the purchase), but that doesn’t change the fact that the economy sucks and I overlooked that fact because I LOVE MY TEAM! I bought my daughter, the next generation of Steelers fans a #43 jersey to continue the tradition of love. I bought myself a new jersey because I LOVE MY TEAM. All this I do because I stand behind the black and gold. Always. That doesn’t mean I’m not pissed off about the poor showing this season.
I’m sure I’m not alone in this regard. I’m sure that there are plenty of “veteran” Steelers fans who put forth their hard earned money to show their support of Pittsburgh and the Steelers and its proud history. Plenty of other fans who will likely never make the league minimum for ROOKIE players but still show up for every game. Plenty of other fans who are heartbroken that we fell, er skyrocketed, from grace like Milli Vanilli or Elliot Spitzer. Let me clue you in on what you might need in the draft next year: a new 12th man because your current one might not make it until next season.
Am I fan? Yes. Do I love my team? Obviously. Have I ever been to a game? *looks down at the ground and toes the dirt* No. Nearly a month ago, Steelers, I asked you if you were just tossing out the rest of the season. You didn’t say yes, so I took that as a no. I guess that’s my mistake. Why did I ask in the first place? Well, you see, you’re coming to town (Miami) in January and I am finally in a position where I can attend a game. I wanted to know that, for the last game of the season, your hearts would still be in it. I wanted to know that I would love my first football game. I guess, that come Sunday, January 3, I’ll have to make my own fun, and don’t worry, I will. I’m sure that you guys will show up, in body if not in spirit.
I’ll still love you always, Steelers, when you’re riding high on top and no matter how many times you disappoint me. I’ll still be there on January 3 to cheer you on even though the game will be meaningless to you (but likely not to the Dolphins). So, if you’ve got an apology for me, or an explanation, or a refund for my Sunday Ticket for the games you’ve thrown away, I’ll be the black girl with dreds in the black Hines Ward jersey sitting in section 246. See you then.
With all that’s left of my heart,