“Stay in your lane.”
This comment can be said in a variety of ways. It can be made in a vehicle as other drivers might be leaving their lane without a signal. It also could be said to someone who is venturing out of their comfort level and into a place they might not really belong.
When it comes to the Pittsburgh Steelers, I know where I belong, and I don’t plan on leaving anytime soon.
No, I’m not talking about being the guy in charge here at BTSC, I’m talking about how I cover the team.
The NFL/sports landscape is covered with so-called experts. People who watch All-22 film, try to diagnose plays and nit-pick plays to help fill a narrative. There are some who are tremendous at this skill, and others who do nothing but provide fans with an opinion which doesn’t truly exist. Sure, you might see some basic Cover 2 principles on a particular defensive play, but do you really know everyone’s assignment on that given play?
I don’t, and that’s okay.
This past weekend over the Thanksgiving holiday my family met at my brother’s house in Richmond. As my mother does often, she arrived with a canvas bag filled with “stuff” for my brother and me to go through. The “stuff” in the bag was about 15 folders of school work which was saved throughout my elementary and middle school years.
This put me in a lose-lose situation. Keep some of the “stuff”, and my wife wonders why I’m bringing junk into the house. Throw it all away and my mother feels slighted for me not showing the same level of appreciation for her ability to save my stuff all those years.
I ended up keeping some of the stuff she sent, class pictures and stuff like that, but I did get the opportunity to read through every single thing my mom saved with my mother sitting next to me. It was a fun experience as we looked back at some of the things I did during my formative years.
One assignment stood out to me, and it was a letter assignment in my 4th grade language arts class. We simple had to write a letter to someone. Who did I write my letter to? Pittsburgh Steelers running back Barry Foster. I wrote about how much I enjoyed watching the Steelers play, how great his season was thus far, and how I wished him luck for the rest of the season. Oh, I also asked him for an autograph.
After reading this article I realized the foreshadowing of that “letter” and these “letters” I write to the fan base every Sunday the Steelers don’t play a game. What I also realized was how I’ve always just been a fan. Not an expert, just a fan. My football experience, and therefore expertise, stopped after middle school, and while I’ve always watched the NFL I am not someone who is able to give tangible evidence for why teams do, or don’t, succeed.
This isn’t to suggest anyone who hasn’t played at a high level can’t be more of an expert than me, we have some who are more than qualified here at this very website, but I realized I live in the fan narrative. I live in the commentary realm, and that’s okay. I don’t pretend to be something I’m not, probably because I’ve never wanted to be anything more than a fan. It’s the reason I only lasted a month away from BTSC at an accredited website. I didn’t want to hang up my “fan” hat. It’s what I’ve always been, and what I’ll always be.
For me, I’m just going to stay in my lane...it’s the best for all parties involved.