Saturday, January 31, 2009

I am Yinzer! Here me roar!

I am Yinzer In case you haven't heard, there's a big football game being played this weekend. My passion for books is rivaled (perhaps) only by my enduring love of the Pittsburgh Steelers. It is, like Lionel Richie and Diana Ross sang, an endless love. I bleed Black and Gold (notice when referring to the Steelers, the colors become uppercase).

No tourist am I; no fair weather fan; no jumper of bandwagons. Having grown up in Western Pennsylvania in the ‘70’s, it seemed to m
e the Steelers were always the champs much like FDR always seemed to be president to the generation before me. My neighbor’s father died of a heart attack, so happy was he that the Steelers won a Super Bowl. When I was in first grade, I met running back Franco Harris when he signed autographs at a department store in my home town. That same signed photo sits on my desk in my office, near photos of my wife and my old dog.

I live in a city whose football fans used to, at least, respect my team but now despise them, not only because their meager offering to the NFL consistently gets their asses handed to them when they play the Steelers but also because they perceived a season-ending
injury inflicted on their quarterback as a dirty hit when it wasn’t and the guy who did the hitting was a well-liked former Bengal with no reputation as a dirty player, ever. What used to be gentle ribbing and high-spirited teasing has become nasty and personal and-- I digress!

What I wa
nted to do before I got off on this rant was recommend a couple of books I’ve read about my beloved team who are poised to win more Super Bowls than any other team, ever. The toughest, roughest, franchise. The pride of Western PA. The classiest franchise in the NFL. The incredible Pittsburgh Steelers.

This is a memoir by running back Jerome Bettis. Tolstoy it ain't but it's an enjoyable look at the Bus and his last season before he retired. Great phots and a cool DVD, too.

Another memoir,
this time by the owner of the franchise. Mr. Rooney is a class act, like his father who founded the franchise, and the organization is held to the same standard. As an employee of the Steelers, you are expected to win whether you're a player or the IT guy. It's part of what makes the franchise what it is. If you're so inclined, I posted a review of this book early last year so you can search the archives.

The last one is a memoir by the former voice of the Steelers, Myron Cope, who we lost in 2008. His rather grating voice and heavy 'Burgh accent made people from outside W. PA wince but that voice always sounded like home to me. He invented the Terrible Towel in 1975 when he told people to bring gold dish towels to wave to a playoff game. He held the rights to the Towel and not many people knew until he died that the profits, almost 2.5 Million dollars, went to a school for people with physical disabilities and mental retardation. We miss you, Myron.

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