Being born and raised in a small town in Ohio was quite difficult. My childhood and current hometown is exactly sixty miles from Cleveland and sixty miles from Pittsburgh. You have two choices. Do you want to become a long suffering Browns fan, or Do you want to be a fan of the classiest organization in the NFL: the Pittsburgh Steelers? Your choice.
The good thing about where I live is that there are many Steelers fans waving their Terrible Towels, so I am not the only one. Early on I had to choose which team I wanted to root for. It was always an easy decision for me: The Pittsburgh Steelers.
The amount of passion I have for football actually didn't begin until I was around 10 years old. During the Steelers Super Bowl XLIII run I didn't even care to watch football. That all changed after I watched the Super Bowl live at my grandparents house. Just witnessing quarterback Ben Roethlisberger lead his team down the field for an incredible come from behind victory forever changed my life. After that day I found my true passion: Steelers Football.
Today I am going to tell you about my life and how I began writing for this wonderful website.
Despite not having an interest in watching football at a young age, I still enjoyed playing the game with the neighborhood kids on Saturday afternoon in the backyard. This was a great way to spend my weekends and develop lifelong friendships.
My life as I knew it changed unexpectedly at the beginning of eighth grade year. My next door neighbor and childhood friend became quite ill. After many weeks of testing, he was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor. I realized at the time I needed to step up and be the friend that he needed me to be. I tried to be as supportive as I could as he endured many months of radiation and chemotherapy. I visited him every single day for an entire year (not exaggerating), spent the night on the weekends, and just helped him get through his tough time.
I wanted him to know that he had a support system and I would always be there for him. As a result of me helping him through this tough time, his family and the Make-A-Wish Foundation invited me on a trip of a lifetime to Hawaii. I am forever grateful for such a heartfelt gesture. After going through this tough ordeal with him, I realized he will always be my lifelong best friend. I realized that you cannot take anything or anyone for granted. I am happy to say he is doing just fine and is cancer free.
In March of 2015 everything seemed to be going along fine. My friend was healthy, I was enjoying football, and the world as I knew it was perfect. During our usual weekend football game, something horrible happened. My friend told me to do a simple slant route and gain about 5 yards for the first down. This route forever changed my life.
The quarterback motioned the left side receiver, and the play began. I started to run the route, the quarterback threw the ball, and I caught the pass. I then made one simple cut up field and fell to the ground. I later found out that I tore my anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) along with my meniscus. I endured a three hour surgery and many painful months of physical therapy. I knew after dealing with such a traumatic injury that I could overcome any adversity that comes my way.
My interest in writing began slowly. In January of 2016 I decided to create a Steelers website just for fun (SteelCityReport.com). It seemed like the more I wrote, the more I enjoyed it. It has truly become my passion in life. After countless friends and family members read my work, they kept telling me that I have a bright future in the journalism field. Just a month after my website launched, I contacted Jeff Hartman at BehindTheSteelCurtain. I felt at the time that my work was worthy enough to be showcased on a larger scale. Editor Jeff Hartman took a chance on a young kid just trying to accomplish his dreams and I truly appreciate him for that.
I currently am the youngest BTSC writer at the age of 18 but my knowledge about the game is extensive (so I am told). Just a month into writing on this fine website, I contacted Christopher Carter who ran the Steelers Film Room. I asked him if we could collaborate and if he could teach me how to do the Film Room on BTSC. He was more than accommodating and taught me many helpful tips and tricks that I will use now and in the future. After Chris left in August of 2016, I took over the position that I call "Head of Film Room Operations". I think it sounds cool and professional. Haha.
My future includes studying journalism and communications in college to one day reach my goal of becoming affiliated with the National Football League (NFL). My ultimate goal is to one day become a broadcaster/ writer for a national sports network.
Right now I want to continue to develop my website to the best of my ability and to work with the wonderful people I have met in the past year. I am truly grateful for the help and knowledge that the staff at BTSC have given me. It will truly help me in my future endeavors.