Sports Magazine

Black n' Gold Blitz : Being a Fan Isn't Always Fun

By Kipper @pghsportsforum
Am I writing this because its been a rough few days in the life of a Pittsburgh fan? You bet its why I'm writing this article. However, this article reaches much further than the shores of the Alleghany, Monongahela, and the Ohio Rivers. Instead, this is true to ANYONE who follows a team and has a vested interest in the outcome of their performances. Some say "Die Hard", some say "Crazed", some say "Lunatic"...but me? I'm a fan. After all, fan is short for fanatic, and that is exactly what I am about the "Big 3" as I call them: Penguins, Pirates, and Steelers (in no particular order). When I get coaxed into going to an event where I might not want to go (thanks to my wife), she will always say "Oh, well this guy is a Steelers fan! You can talk to him about that!" I almost always reply with "Is he a fan like me, or does he just claim to be a fan?" She knows well enough after almost 6 years of marriage that I am not a normal fan when it comes to my favorite teams. I always get disappointed when people say "Oh I'm a HUGE Steelers fan!" and I say "What did you think of their draft class this year?" and they respond with "Oh I didn't even see who we got...was it good?" Just leaves me shaking my head.
I take pride in being the way that I am. I spend time learning the teams, learning the players, where they come from, their strengths and weaknesses, and the progress the teams are making. I wear my Pittsburgh Fanhood on my sleeve and sometimes that isn't always a good thing. The good times are times that you'll never forget. For instance, I'll never forget watching the Steelers win Superbowl 43 in my small condo with my newborn son sleeping in the other room. Almost hitting my head on the ceiling when James Harrison returned that INT for a TD at the end of the first half, and of course when Santonio Holmes cemented himself into Steelers lore with his beautiful toe touch in the back of the endzone. I remember standing up out of my chair and fist pumping like crazy all by myself as Marc Andre Fleury slid from his left to his right to stop a Nikolas Lindstrom slap shot to secure the Game 7 win and the Stanley Cup for the Penguins. I could go on...
However its the bad times that make me ask myself why I care as much as I do. Take the last 5 days for instance. The Pirates are 1-4 out of their last 5 games, the Penguins are getting their butts handed to them in the Eastern Conference Finals, and the Steelers had one of their "to be" starting tackles stabbed on the South Side at 3am. There have been worse times for me (and anyone else like me) as a Pittsburgh fan. Whether it was the heartbreaking 1st round playoff losses the past 3 seasons with the Penguins or when the Steelers lost Superbowl 45 thanks in large part to one Mr. Rashard Mendenahll coughing up the football when the Steelers were driving and on the Packers 32 yard line (yes, I remember it that vividly). Go back a ways in my mind and I can still recall Sid Bream scoring the winning run in the '92 NLCS and Neil O'Donnell choking away Superbowl 30 against the hated Cowboys.
I get angry at times. Yes, downright angry when the teams I follow don't play the way I expect them to. Is that ridiculous? Most would say it is, but there are alot of people that are just like me...I know this because they follow me on Twitter (time for my shameless plug - Follow me on Twitter - @BnGBlitz). When the Steelers lost to the Broncos in the Wild Card Round of the playoffs 2 years ago I almost destroyed my mailbox and the new Steeler Mailbox Cover I just put on it. I kid you not. Being as invested as I am (and most of you reading this are) has its ups and downs, but I wouldn't change a thing. I'm like this way because of my older brother and my Dad. Its almost become a routine that we call each other on Thursday or Friday during the NFL season to discuss the upcoming game plan for the Steelers. We text / talk during any Pittsburgh sporting event and are proud of the teams we follow. I remember seeing a New Era ad on the back of a Pirates program years ago when I first visited PNC Park. It said this "A hat isn't just a hat...its a flag." That always stuck with me. I wear all my Pittsburgh gear regardless of the successes or failures of the team...for crying out loud I wear Pirates gear all the time and there haven't been any success stories out of that camp in 20 years!
Being a fan isn't always fun, but for me its all worth it. Whether you root for the Pittsburgh "Big 3" or just one of the "Big 3" wear your flag, and raise it high...because being a fan is always worth it!

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