I play in an amateur hockey league on Sunday nights. My teammates are used to me being absent on nights when the Steelers have the night game. But last night was our first game of a new hockey season, and I didn't want to miss it. So I DVR'd the Steelers and headed out to the ice arena. It was a good decision.
My team got our butts kicked in the first period, and we wound up down 2-0. It could have been much worse without solid play from our goaltender. But we kept our cool, and steadily improved as the game went on and we shook off the rust of a long offseason. At the same time, our opponent wore down. We owned them in the 3rd period, and we ultimately won 3-2, having scored the gamewinner with about a minute left. It was one of the most satisfying victories I've had since joining the league 12 years ago, and it was even sweeter because I knew there was a Steelers game waiting for me at home. Around 11:30, I settled in to watch my recording of the game, my legs thoroughly tired from skating hard and my voice already hoarse from cheering.
I think the comeback victory in hockey enhanced my optimism as I watched the Steelers dig their hole in the first quarter. I'm always a pretty optimistic fan, but last night-- even when they were down 3 touchdowns-- I was convinced they'd pull off the comeback... and I'd remember it forever, because it would make a double-comeback night for me. I found myself getting out of my seat and cheering loudly throughout the game, almost like I would for a playoff game or a division game with 1st place on the line. Along the way I saw Antonio Brown make the best catch of his young career; Jonathan Dwyer run over a safety; David DeCastro hustle downfield and shove Jerricho Cotchery past the sticks to convert a 3rd down; Emmanuel Sanders lay out for an overthrown ball (he didn't make the catch, but I really loved his effort); and a rare blocked extra point as the weekly jaw-dropping Polamalu play. By 2am, I could hardly talk and I was thoroughly drained. Experiences like that are why I like watching football and rooting for a team.
Obviously I wish the Steelers had won. Like all of you, I'm frustrated by many of the problems I'm seeing on the field. But for me, last night's contest was a ton of fun to watch-- win or lose.