I live in the small town of Winchester, VA, where the "sports bar" only plays random football games and the occasional World Series of Poker, so when the invitation was sent out to meet up with fellow BTSC members down in Arlington last night, I didn't hesitate. I didn't have much money and I was riding in on fumes, but since Arlington is relatively close, I threw caution to the wind and went, and I'm glad I did.
Outside of Pittsburgh, I have never been to a Steelers pub in my entire life so when I walked in, I was like a little kid at Christmas inside. I grew up in a small town in upstate NY, so you had rabid Giants fans, and down here in Winchester, there's a mix of Ravens, Redskins, Cowboys and Steelers fans, but nothing too much.
Anyway, I sat down at the reserved BTSC table. All of us had gotten there during pre-game getting to know each other, sharing stories and quite a few laughs. Surprisingly, there were only about 50 other people in there, all Steelers fans (minus a very small group of Bengals fans sitting right next to us). Ivan leaned over and told me that this specific place is usually filled to capacity so, needless to say, it was a quieter night than usual!
It's weird for me to say this, but the mood in that pub was so relaxing - until the game started that is. You could feel the tension grow. Even though the Steelers were already in the playoffs, everyone in there wanted them to win the North. So to them, it was an important game. Every dropped pass, the interception, the fake punt whiff; tables were pounded on and words I shall not repeat were said. After touchdowns, they played "Here We Go" (Steelers Fight Song), "Black and Yellow", and some other hip-hop song over the sound system. People were going crazy!
In the end, the Steelers had won the AFC North and I got to meet some amazing people from this great community, and I couldn't have asked for anything better!!!
During halftime, I believe it was Homer that brought up, in the grand scheme of things, that Pittsburgh is a pretty small city, yet has such a large fan base. Who would have thought that a pub right across the bridge from DC would be a Steelers bar that sells IC light, and Pittsburgh pierogies? I felt right at home. Heck, when I first walked in, I walked up to a guy who was wearing a Lambert jersey (my favorite Steeler), said "love the jersey!", and he bought me a beer.
But it's not about buying beers, complimenting which jerseys fans are wearing, or what have you. It's about the camaraderie. The thing that sticks out in my mind is when AB scored the last touchdown, someone near us went up and hugged almost every Steelers fan around him. We high-fived each other. I looked around and the whole room in Arlington, VA, was electrified. THAT my friends, is what Steeler Nation is all about.