Posted by: Tompaul1
on Jul 06, 2011
Tagged in: Untagged
I have a confession to make: I was not born in Pittsburgh (that was Germany); and I wasn't raised there either (Washington, D.C.). But when I was 7 years old, my father lived in Pittsburgh and I would go there quite often to visit. In November of 1978, my younger brother (Aaron) and I (we were named after the golfer Tommy Aaron) went to visit my dad (my mom dropped us off at the train station--you could do that in '79). My dad picked us up and as we drove I couldn't help but notice all the Black and Gold sweaters, jackets and hats. I asked my dad to explain what it all meant, which he gladly did. When we returned home, you could imagine my mother's surprise when I turned the football games on and asked why the Steelers weren't playing. "Beacuse this is Redskins territory, son." So not knowing any better, I asked her if it was alright if I chose the Steelers as "my team." She said absolutely, but I might have some explaining to do; I didn't know what she meant at the time.
Some years later, (5, maybe 8), I began gaining an interest in hockey and baseball. I told myself that if it was okay to like the Steelers, then it was okay to like the Pirates and Penguins, too. And so it goes--flash forward to this decade. People often ask me what part of Pittsburgh I am from, and I have to tell them the truth; so they ask a little more and I tell them the abridged version of what I wrote above. Then I get the almighty insult and I'm immediately accused of being a "bandwagonner," until I tell them, "I'm a Pirates fan, too." And they simply reply "Oh, carry on then."
Seeing the Pirates play the ball they're plaing now, I stand a very good chance being called a bandwagonner again. While it may be regarded as an insult when referencing my devotion to the Steelers or Penguins, when it comes to the Pirates in 2011, I take it very, very much as a compliment.