One of our prolific posters asked me "Can I have some of your optimism juice?" I had gotten part of the way through a novel-length reply and decided it was probably better as a poast, so here goes:
I will tell you why I am optimistic about the Steelers. For crying out loud, the Steelers were ahead until the last 15 seconds or so (although admittedly they trailed until well in the 4th quarter. And what's the most they ever trailed by? 6 points IIRC. Less than a TD.) Some of you are acting as if we lost 48-0. I could definitely see being pessimistic after that.
Obviously, there were some things about the game that were less than optimal. I'm not thrilled that the D couldn't stop Flacco from going 92 yards down the field at the end. But they were on the field far too long.
Honestly, I believe the pivotal play was Ben's pick. For whatever reason the D isn't getting takeaways this year, not yet, anyhow, and Ben knows that. He has been very smart with the ball lately, but that was just a bad read on his part. The Steelers finish that drive and put a score on the board and I suspect the outcome is different.
As it was, we lost by 3 points. That was against an essentially full-strength Ravens team, who got Ben Grubbs back and was missing scarcely anyone else of importance. We played with a depleted receiving corps and with a young, inexperienced player at the all-important OLB position on one side, and an out-of-game-condition Harrison on the other. He was a beast yesterday, but as others have observed he was out of gas by the end. And why? Because the D was on the field too long.
I don't know that this team is going to make it to the Super Bowl. Who knows? This is a crazy year, and they may not win enough games to make it to the playoffs. We don't really know what Cincinnati is this year, because they haven't played either the Steelers or the Ravens yet. We'll find out next week. Maybe they are way better than we think, and we'll lose that one too.
We still don't know exactly what this Steelers team is. But we do know that they are playing with skill and heart in the face of a great deal of adversity, and I don't honestly see how we as fans can ask anymore. If your entire life and self-image is wrapped up in how well the Steelers play, than maybe you should take another look at what's important to you. I spent about 10 minutes last night feeling sick at heart. And then I remembered how blessed I am.
Two days ago Emmanuel Sanders attended the funeral of his 40-year old mother. Those of us who have lost a parent know what that means, except that most of us didn't lose that parent before we were completely grown up. I'm sure he was disappointed that the Steelers lost, but I expect that he has a great deal of perspective about how important that actually is right now.
At this moment Daniel Sepulveda is probably awaiting surgery to repair a knee that is likely to bother him the rest of his life, knowing that he's almost certainly finished as an NFL player. At this moment Aaron Smith is most likely wondering whether his neck is ever going to be right again, and probably assuming he will never play again. Both of these men have a proper perspective on the situation. Aaron Smith is a man who knows he's blessed, because he could well have lost his young son to cancer. Daniel Sepulveda is a man of faith who knows that football is not all of life.
The world is filled with unimaginable suffering and sorrow. It is also filled with beauty, love and life. I love my Steelers as much as it is possible for me to love something so otherwise unconnected with anything in my life. Which is a lot. My husband suggested meeting for lunch today, which is totally out of character. As we sat down to eat I asked him whether this was to prevent me sitting at home and brooding, and he admitted that it was. I enjoyed the lunch, but I'm happy to say that I really wouldn't have brooded anyhow.
Life is too short to spend in going through the "what ifs?" That is true whether it has to do with some of one's earlier life choices or Dick LeBeau's play calls. The past is gone and the future is not guaranteed. All we have is the present, and the chance to live with gratitude rather than bitterness. Whether you believe in a higher power or just believe in the Rooneys, you have a lot to be thankful for.
So let's all take a deep breath and remember what we have survived already. 2009 - we lost five games in a row and didn't make it into the playoffs. And yet we are all still here, the sun comes up, the birds sing, leaves fall on your lawn - well, maybe you shouldn't think about the last bit. 2010 - we made it all the way to the Super Bowl, and lost. And yet we are all here, etc., etc. This year we might make it to the Super Bowl and win. We might make it there only to lose. We might make it to the playoffs, only to lose to the Ravens, or the Pats, or whomever. We might not make it at all. And yet, the world will still continue on its course, at least until March of 2012 ; )
Take a look around and realize that, unlikely as it seems, the sun doesn't rise and set with the result of a football game.
With love from Momma : )