FanPost

I am not a bandwagoner

I've been reading BTSC for years. However, I've always resisted the urge to become a member. I knew how much time it could suck and, admittedly, I have rather thin skin for any reactions to posts I might make. But I finally bit the bullet after reading adam.powell's post where the "bandwagoner" comment was thoroughly discussed. My grandparents were lifetime Steeltown residents. My parents grew up in Pittsburgh. I was born in Pittsburgh and lived there until I was five years old when my family moved to Connecticut for employment reasons. I was a baseball rat at a young age. Became a Pirate fan early. Little did my family know what would happen shortly after our move in 1959. You are still a hero Maz!! My grandfather was a huge Pirate fan and once, during a visit to Pittsburgh, took me to Forbes Field to watch the Bucs play the Astros- that would have put it somewhere between 1965 (when the Astros name changed from the Colt 45's) and 1967 when my grandfather died. I will never forget that trip to Forbes Field! In the mid-60's my consciousness of the Steelers started to appear. I remember collecting Coca Cola bottle caps in Connecticut. You collected all the New York Giant players as well as the All Pro teams- each picture was inside the bottle cap. I remember the only Steeler represented- middle linebacker Myron Pottios. It was slim pickins in those days! My dad would throw a few names around- Bobby Layne and Ernie Stautner. He many times mentioned how the Steelers cut Johnny Unitas- a hard pill to swallow for a young Steeler fan in the 60's. How could they? By 1967 my family had moved to Idaho- I could not be further from Steeler country. It was a lonely place for a Steeler fan. There weren't many household names on the Steeler rosters back then. But 1969 and 1970 changed all that. I first remember Terry Hanratty getting drafted. That was exciting because I actually knew who the Notre Dame QB was. And Mean Joe Green- didn't know him but I quickly decided I liked the "Mean" part. There was hope in that 1969 season, even though they lost the last 13 games. Bradshaw, Shanklin (another name I knew) and Blount came in 1970. Then Ham in 1971 and Harris in 1972. 1972 brought my best memory of the Steelers ever. You see, my dad wasn't much of a "rah rah" type of guy. But it had been such a long time since the Steelers had done anything. All seemed lost against the Raiders until the Immaculate Reception. It is the only time I ever saw my dad come out of his seat! He lost it...... just for 15 seconds or so, then he regained his composure. That was the best!!! The drafts continued until the super draft of 1974. I soon became the obnoxious Steeler fan in Idaho where locals only knew how to follow the Broncos. We got a steady diet of Bronco games on the networks in those days. Seldom were the Steelers shown in the area during the season. But come playoff time, I was in my full glory. Drove a few friends nuts! I've lived in the state of Washington and now Oregon for the last 24 years. I've been rooting for the Pirates through 20 years of futility as well as the Steelers through the team's ups and downs. I am fortunate to be addicted to such a great organization as the Steelers. Which brings me back to the term "bandwagoner". It's funny, but living in a place like Oregon, many non-Steeler fans assume I am a bandwagoner, especially with the success in the recent past. Bandwagon defined as "a particular activity or cause that has suddenly become fashionable or popular". To those fans it doesn't make sense to see the black and gold in such a faraway land. When I tell them I was born in Pittsburgh, it usually explains all. However, just being born in Pittsburgh doesn't mean you are a faithful Steeler fan. Sticking with a team always, through the difficult seasons and downturns, makes you a faithful follower. Whenever I see anyone wearing Steeler anything, I go out of my way to have a conversation with them. I ask them how and when they became Steeler fans. Almost never do I get an answer that would equate the person to a "bandwagoner". I go to the local sports bar for many games and, even in Oregon, more Steeler shirts show up than any other team with the exception of the Seahawks. Yes- I have to have that discussion all the time about how the Hawks got screwed in the SB by the refs. It continues to this day! My comeback is always- all you had to do was stop undrafted Willie Parker from scoring on the longest rushing play in Super Bowl history or stop that Randle El pass (you knew it was coming!). It brings to question- where do those "bandwagoners" hang out? It sure doesn't seem to be in the northwest!

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