Last year I ended my article detailing the 11th Annual Walk this way:
Next year I'm signing up sooner and recruiting more heavily, and I'm hoping some of you slackers will join me...So get out your walking shoes, limber up your muscles, and plan to join me next year. I'll bring the BTSC T-shirts : )
Well, I lied, as it happened. I was crazy busy this spring, and didn't even get around to signing up until Thursday. My "recruiting" consisted of making my husband go with me and putting a short plug in one of my draft articles. I suppose you could say I generated a 100 percent increase in team membership, but I don't have anyone else I can order to join me next season, so it's going to have to be you guys. Mark your calendars! The incentives will appear in the rest of the article.
As for the walk itself, it was a gorgeous day in the 'Burgh, not too hot, clear and sunny. However, the Allegheny River is so high at the moment that Memorial Day boaters are being asked to choose an alternate form of entertainment.
Perhaps as a result of that, we didn't walk on Washington's Landing as we did last year, but stayed on the Allegheny Heritage trail. That was quite nice as well. Here are a few pictures:
This rather odd picture demonstrates Dr. Momma's and my differing ideas of the sort of footwear appropriate for a 10K walk:
He is wearing two pairs of thick socks. My shoes are "minimalist", or "barefoot," or whatever you want to call them. (I have to admit, I brought a pair of socks and "minimalist" tennis shoes just in case.)
So who made the better choice? Me of course. Except that I got a blister about halfway through and bailed on the sandals and opted for the tennies. I also sustained an ant bite or some such on the top of my foot which was less-than-optimal.
On the other hand, Dr. Momma also got at least one blister. But I guess he wins, since he didn't get an ant bite. I looked more fabulous, though, so there's that...
Here are the huddled masses yearning to breathe free as we left Heinz Field. Last year there were 1500 walkers or so, and I would guess there were at least that many this year:
Here's a pic of some of the assembled "brass". Among other special guests were Randy Grossman, Bill Priatko, and Justin Hartwig.
Here is Dr. Momma, almost back to Heinz Field, and looking pretty cheerful:
In case you're wondering, his T-shirt notes the names of some operas that didn't quite make it, such as "The Plumber of Seville" and "The Magic Tuba." One of the Heinz Field staff workers was so taken with it that we ended up having a long conversation, touching on subjects such as the Battle of Midway, the RAF (Royal Air Force) base in Alconbury (now a supermarket IIRC) and other such esoterica.
And finally, a Very Important Guest indeed, and the first of the incentives I mentioned. We all donated our morning and a bit of shoe leather. He gave his life to benefit the Light of Life shelter: (Vegetarians, please avert your gaze:)
Yes, friends, the Pittsburgh Barbeque Company smoked a whole hog, and was serving it when we got back. (Lunch is provided, and there are the usual hamburgers and hot dogs and potato salad and such, but you can bypass all of that and go directly to the PIG!)
But now let's get down to business. Last year I had the privilege of speaking briefly with Tunch, and was given a hot tip for the following season, namely that Kelvin Beachum was going to turn some heads and even compete for a starting tackle position.
So I commandeered the long-suffering Mr. Ilkin once again and asked him if he could give our readers any thoughts about who might surprise everyone this season. He immediately began talking about Ryan Shazier, about what a find he is, and indicated that he thought we were going to see a rejuvenation of the Steelers' linebacking corps.
I asked him about Sean Spence, and he hesitated before answering. He then said that anything the Steelers manage to get from Spence is gravy, given the severity of his injury. But that said, Ilkin feels that if Spence's recovery is complete enough he will be an impressive player. He noted that before the injury Spence was turning heads not just because of his speed and athleticism but because of his understanding of the game and intelligence.
He then said Mike Munchak is going to revolutionize the offensive line. He believes the players, both as a unit and on an individual level, are going to make enormous strides under Munchak's tutelage. Great news indeed, especially as Ilkin is speaking about his speciality.
Finally, Tunch suggested next year we should aim for a whole contingent of Steeler fans drawn from the readers of this great site. I'm in—how about you all? Pinky promise, and I really will get the T shirts this time : )