Often, after a member of my family reads my blog, they ask me, “Why don’t you write about us more?!” Fortunately, they don’t read my blog very frequently, so that’s not an oft-asked question. I tend to stick to reporting-related blogs that take you behind-the-scenes of my life as a sports journalist. And rarely does that lead to writing about my family. But now that I have 320+ of these to write over the next 12 months, watch out everyone: I’m writing about all of you.
And today my worlds merged perfectly. I am, of course, in Pittsburgh to report a piece on why the Steelers connect so well with the women of Pittsburgh. I was raised by a rabid Steelers fan, and she is here with me.
This afternoon, we drove to Cabot, where my mom grew up and I lived until I was 10, to meet up with a couple of her high school friends, our Aunt Winnie and a couple friends-of-friends : Kim and Jody. We met up at the Fieldhouse Inn — all dressed in Steelers garb, of course — and swapped stories about growing up in Pittsburgh. I laughed a lot.
Then we drove to the farm where my dad grew up and I spent much of my childhood and interviewed my 93-year-old grandmother, Freda, about watching games in the 70s with her father (she was almost 50 when she became a fan) and how Steelers football is as much a Sunday tradition in Pittsburgh homes as church services and slovakian food.
Then we drove to Natrona Heights to watch my badass twin cousins Derek and Zach play football for the Highlands High Rams, Friday Night Lights style. Of course, my dream of watching them lead the team in all possible stats when I found out Derek was out with a broken thumb and Zach wasn’t going to play. Because the game didn’t count toward their district standings, the coach decided to sit his starters for the entire game.
Next week, Highlands plays their cross-town rival, the Knoch Knights (my mom’s high school and the high school I would have attended had we stayed in Pittsburgh). I understand the rationale; he wanted his team healthy for the meat of the season. But it was senior night. And Derek and Zach are seniors. And I was in town!
Fortunately, I got to spend some time with them after the game, and I had the opportunity to sit and watch the game (and shiver) with 10 members of my family and talk about the Steelers and (with my female cousins) what it’s like to be a woman in this town. They’re all Steelers-a-holics who know their football. I also talked to several women in the stands, each who had a fun insight into why Pittsburgh has the greatest concentration of female sports fans.
Was that really just one day?