I'm one of those people that naturally like to go against the consensus. I guess I just always felt compelled to stand out in a crowd. In first grade, we were instructed to draw a restaurant. This was 1978, every kid drew hamburgers or pizza joints. I drew chicken. At that point, I didn't even eat chicken and they didn't either. There were no nuggets and strips yet then. In fourth grade, we had to draw presidential candidates for the 1980 election. The smart kids drew my favorite, Ronald Reagan. The other kids drew Jimmy Carter. Imagine my parent's thoughts when they saw their eight-year old's mangled-lettered name on the poster for John Anderson (the independent candidate that year) at parent-teacher night. I seriously think they considered therapy at that particular juncture. Bad guy wrestlers? To quote my favorite at that time when everybody thought he was despicable, "Oh Yeahhhhhhh!". (The Macho Man, not the Kool-aid Man). Bailey Quarters over Jennifer Marlowe on WKRP? That was me. But when it came to football growing up in Johnstown, PA...not even I would go against the Pittsburgh Steelers. I couldn't.
As a kid getting indoctrinated into the family routine of Steeler Sunday, I was immediately smittened. My comic books didn't have a more compelling cast of characters. Blonde Bombers. Italian Armies. Swann's acrobatics. Thanks Mean Joe. Golden shoes. Goldfish shoes. The Iron Man. The Rock. The Bald Bad-Ass Corner. Lambert's Lunatics, the hometown guy from Johnstown on the other side, the curmudgeonly coach, the grandfatherly owner and yoi and double yoi. It was a legendary time.
In the eighties, I had three passions: The Pittsburgh Steelers, American Top 40 with Casey Kasem and being a part of a family. Every Sunday we would seem to be together watching our team, but I had a dilemma. The Top 10 of the 40 would be on during the first hour of the game, so I did both. I'd write down the top 10 while I watched the game. To this day, I can tell you with 100% accuracy the #1 song from any of the 3,653 days of the 1980's because of this. I could probably tell you some details of the games also. Ironically, both Chuck Noll and Casey Kasem passed away a day apart at the same age of 82. It was a devastating weekend for me.
Now three decades later, I still have three passions. The Pittsburgh Steelers, 80s music and retro AT40 shows (on IHeart and Tunein Radio) and my family.
You read and hear my love for the Steelers on BTSC whether it be articles, commentaries or podcasts. But I'm far from a professional. I'm just a fan who lucked into the opportunity to share my thoughts and views regarding my favorite team on BTSC. As a career, I market pharmaceuticals. I've done this for the past 12 years. But my first career after graduating from the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown was as a Top 40 DJ and Sports Director for WGLU in Johnstown, PA. Morning radio was a blast and I had the opportunity to experience some amazing things along the way, but I eventually got out of radio and found my way into sales. One of those sales gigs was peddling newspaper advertising in Elkins, WV. There, I struck up a friendship with the Sports Editor and he let me do a weekly column on the Steelers during the 2002 season. I left for greener pastures the following year, but it helped me scratch that Steelers and media itch for a little while.
13 years later, I was at a school function for my daughter in kindergarten and I struck up a conversation with the father of her best friend in school. I didn't know much about this guy, but I knew he was a die hard Pittsburgh sports fan and any opportunity to talk Steelers is good enough for me. He asked me what I thought about the team this year. I told him that I was encouraged about their fortunes and quoted an the article I had read online. I was shocked to learn that the article I was quoting was written by the person I was talking to at that moment. That's when I spouted off anything I could do to get Jeff Hartman to let me write for BTSC. Six days later, My first article was published and the rest is yet to come.
I mentioned my passions above. Again, I love the 80s. Music, sports, TV and film. I'm a big Huey Lewis fan. Saw him five times over the years. Hall and Oates, Van Halen, Jimmy Buffett, Journey, U2, Prince, Guns 'n Roses, Sinatra, Green Day and Counting Crows are favorites of mine too. I'm a big movie guy. Lethal Weapon and Die Hard are tops with me. Star Wars, Harry Potter, Slap Shot, Rocky, Shawshank, Boogie Nights. I love them all.
In my free time, I serve as a Sunday School teacher, a Cub Scout Den Leader, a chili cookoff contestant, watching WWE with my daughter, I play in an adult kickball league and am the captain of a champion pub trivia team. My latest endeavor has been getting licensed to legally conduct marriage ceremonies. My first one was in April and I have two more scheduled in the fall. My goal is to conduct a Steeler-themed yinzer wedding. That would be fun.
I consider myself one of the luckiest people to roam the earth. I've kind of lived a Forrest Gump-type existence with falling into enriching situations over the years. My proudest accomplishment is my family. I have been married to a Maryland girl for nearly ten years and Jennie and I have three children. My stepson, Stephan, is 23 and serves in the US Navy. My son, Connor, is in fourth grade and my daughter, Jillian, is in second. Spending time with them trumps all.
One other accomplishment that I debated on whether or not to include is that I am proud and extremely blessed to say that I am a 13-year cancer survivor. It has given me the perspective to embrace everything that this beautiful world has to offer and not sweat small stuff, or take anything for granted and just enjoy each day like it's my last. So, a Steeler playoff elimination doesn't bother me like it once did. It just makes me look forward for the next chance that is sure to come.
I'm glad, as Steeler fans united on BTSC, that we can anticipate it and experience it together. The consensus isn't so vas after all.