The City of Champions - A Good Memory
Well the Pittsburgh Steelers won Superbowl XL last night. I'm not a huge sports fanatic but I DO enjoy football and I watch the Steelers faithfully. The Steelers defined the city I grew up in. Between 1975 and 1980 (ages 9 through 15 for me), the Steelers won 4 Superbowls. That kind of dominance in a game that has been a national obsession for 4 decades had a huge effect on the city I grew up in and thus on me. As a kid, as a Pittsburgher, it was impossible NOT to be influenced by the media hype, the bigger than life players like golden boy/maveric QB Terry Bradshaw, and Lynn Swann, the ballet-taking wide receiver great, and Franco Harris whose Immaculate Reception is a single moment in time that this city will forever have imprinted in its memory. There were so many others....all household names that came up daily in conversation at home, at school, among friends: The Steel Curtain - Dwight White, Ernie Holmes, Mean Joe Green, L.C. Greenwood - considered by many to be the best defense ever in professional football; and a just as impressive offense with running back Rocky Bleier and wide receiver John Stallworth among many others.
The Steelers hadn't been to a Superbowl since 1995 (losing to Dallas) and hadn't won since 1980, so last night was an exciting night. Yeah, the Steelers didn't play the best game they've ever played, but the won, and they brought the Championship back to Pittsburgh for the first time in 25 years. In place of all those names I mentioned above this year it was Ben Roethlisberger and Jerome Bettis, Hines Ward and Troy Polamalu, Joey Porter and Antwaan Randle El - but it was the same old Steelers. It was great to watch and the nostalgia felt good.
I don't have many memories of my childhood. And when I say I don't have many, I really mean I have next to none. I truly have almost 0 memories of specific events or occasions and only even a few lasting impressions. Nearly all of my specific memories and my impressions are bad ones - abuse at the hands of my father are at the center of most of them. But my memories of the Steelers in the late 70's - mostly names and impressions, are good. I do recall feeling very proud to live in the City of Champions. So last night was one of those rare times when I could look back on growing up and feel good. For that one little gift I'm so thankful. Last night was a really good night.