Monday, January 24, 2011
There is No Jen in "Steelers." Or is there...?
My love for the black and gold has been well documented. And lest you think this black and gold of which I speak is the "little black dress" and gold earrings, you'd be wise to shift your gaze to that photo up there. Yeah, that one. The one of the Terrible Towel, marked with evidence of the Steelers' victories in an unprecedented 6, count em, SIX Super Bowls.
Yes. My ardor for the Steelers does not wane. And you most likely know this already. I can't help it. I love me some Steelers.
Last night, when the Steelers reached the Super Bowl for the eighth time by soundly defeating Rex Ryan and his wily, too-little-too late Jets, the texts and voice mails poured in to my very busy phone. You guys know me so well, and I know I'm not obnoxious about it. At. All.
"Congrats!" "Well done." "That was a close one!" "See you in Dallas!" "We're going to the Super Bowl!!!!!!"
This is what I refer to as the "royal we" of sport, wherein one's entire fan base takes credit for all a teams' successes and rues all of their shortcomings. When we say "We're going to the Super Bowl," we mean it. Our passion has carried our team to the crest of perfection and we ride the wave of their muscle-bound glory.
When someone says, "Congrats," that my team has advanced, and lived to play another game, another rival vanquished, I smile and say, "Thanks," because it is through my efforts that my team has a stout defense and scrambling giant of a QB.
"See you in Dallas!" They crow. "Heck to the yeah!" I cry back. Now, I'm not really, physically going to Dallas, but MY team is. And vicariously I am. And I will make my virtual presence known. You will hear the cheer in my tweets and status updates. You hopefully will not have to experience my anguish.
It's funny how invested we get in mere sport. I get loud, chatty and a bundle of nerves. I pace and hold my Terrible Towel over my eyes on 3rd and long or, worse on 4th and 1 when we choose to go for it. My husband sits quietly remote from the crowd. He doesn't talk. He barely eats. He is a stoic stone of passivity. Occasionally, though, he will mutter and grumble like the old man in the corner. "We need to tackle," he'll say. Or, "Why are we passing. We need to force the run." As if he's right there, on the sidelines, with some kind of authority to make these adjustments.
I know nay-sayers exist. There are those in the crowd who disdain the use of the sporting royal we, rightly claiming it simply isn't so. WE are not on the team. OUR cheering makes little to no impact on the game, especially those of us watching at home. We do not need to run the ball because WE do not get to touch the ball.
Sure sure. That's TECHNICALLY true. But isn't community and team spirit the point of teams? Aren't they groups of players and spectators for a reason? Sports wouldn't exist today if not for the fan dumping his cold hard cash nto the system.
Without her passion to show up early and stay there late if that's what her team needs. If no crowd arrives, there's not much of a point, is there? They play for us and we cheer for them.
So yes, thank you for the many congrats. I'm excited we made it and I'll see you all in Dallas. Look for me. I'll be the nervous nelly pacing with a yellow towel on her head.