Ok, Read this and tell me what you think.. should I get my ass out of bed and get down to this bar at 4 am Monday morning to watch the game with this lunatic to see what happens and whether or not I can get a good end to this column? Or should I watch it somewhat more sanely in my den and find something else to write about?
I’m a diehard Steelers fan. It wasn’t really a choice. I grew up in Pittsburgh in the 70s when rooting for the Steelers was as natural and assumed as walking, breathing, or eating. From September to December and hopefully beyond, you didn’t ask someone what they were doing on Sunday but where, as in “Where you watchin’ the game?”
It’s not all that different today in the Burgh. On a recent holiday visit to my folks, I took my kids to the Carnegie Science center the Monday morning after the Steelers had clinched a playoff spot with a 35-21 victory over the Lions. We felt underdressed as one of the few families in the joint not without a single member wearing something black and gold.
This kind of devotion is way more than surface deep and it doesn’t vanish or even diminish much when you leave town. The Pittsburgh diaspora is a rich one, with outposts of Steelers fanatics dotted all around the globe. There are Steelers bars all over the country and indeed the world. A running list is kept here of such places is maintained on the Pittsburgh Post Gazette website.
If you take a look at http://www.post-gazette.com/steelers/steelerbars.asp, you will see bars in Al Hillah, Iraq, Qepos, Costa Rica, Belfast, Northern Ireland and even Hong Kong. But not, alas, Beijing. A quick Google of “Steelers Beijing” turned up the following classified ad on the That’s Beijing website:
Steelers Fans Converge
Ok all you Steelers Fans.. It’s time to converge on the Goose and Duck and support the Steelers..
Time: 4:00 am
Date: Monday, Jan, 23rd
Place: The Goose and Duck (Chao Yang Gong Yuan Xi Men)
Let’s see if we can gather the faithful together to witness Denver’s demise.
I emailed the poster and cyber-met George Shader, who grew up in my neighborhood before moving to Phoenix in 10th grade. He told me he posted the ad because he was disgusted at being overwhelmed by Patriots fans a year ago in the AFC Championship Game and thought it was time for the Steelers nation to flex its muscles.
You’re on to something there. Sort of a “clinging to our traditions whilst in an unto foreign land”. Reminds me a certain pub in the village where I once met some rowdy Wales and Scotland soccer fans. Expats to be sure. Drunk as skunks, singing their national anthem (do you even know all the words of SSB?) at the top of their lungs. Pride and Nationalism. Gotta Love It. “Here we go…(hmmm,hmmm,hmmmmmm), Here we go (hmmm,hmmm,hmmmmmm), Here we go (hmmm,hmmm,hmmmmmm), Pittsburgh’s goin’ to the Super Bowl”. You can take the boy out of the city, drop him in Ann Arbor for some “lost years”; send him to Florida to ripen up a bit; to the Big Apple to roughen his edges; back to Ann Arbor to domesticate him some; drop him in Maplewood,NJ for some family time; and then roll him into Peking, I mean Beijing…but you can’t take the city out of the boy. Grab me an IC would ya’, I’m feeling parched!