I’m not happy about the Steelers loss to the Jaguars, but I am relieved. If they’d won we probably would have had to see them lose further into the playoffs, when it would’ve hurt even worse. Now that the season is behind us, I’ve been thinking of how to rebuild morale among fans of the team and among the Steelers themselves. The answer is, of course, outsourcing. We should outsource some of our Pittsburgh-ness to like-minded folks across the country.
There’s a lot of talk during football season about the Pittsburgh Steelers Nation—the widespread group of expatriate (and non-native) fans that don their Steelers-themed clothes and root for the hometown win. But once the football season ends for our team, we Pittsburghers tend to forget about our wide network of Steelers kinsmen. Similarly, those fans in San Diego, Seattle, Baltimore, and beyond tend to forget about the Steel City when the Steelers aren’t playing. Maybe it’s that aching that we feel when the Steelers don’t win the Super Bowl that keeps us from staying in closer touch. Or maybe it’s the painful nostalgia that expatriates feel when they think of being away from their homeland.
Whatever the reason for our distance from each other, we Steelers fans need to stick even closer together in the off-season than we do during the season. Those of us in the Promised Land of Pittsburgh take our hills, foods, sayings and ways for granted. But people who left, even if they left decades ago, still get a wistful look when they talk about our City of Champions. We know that oftentimes their love for the Steelers is wrapped up with their love for Pittsburgh, a place where they sometimes wish they were, but cannot be. To fight the ennui that falls like a winter freeze in the off-season, folks in the Greater Steelers Nation can do more than a few things to keep their Pittsburgh Spirit alive throughout the year:
1. When stopped at an intersection where you have the right-of-way, wave the opposing car ahead of you.
If you do this, I guarantee you’ll feel like you’re in the City of Bridges for just a moment—or at least until an irate driver behind you honks his car’s horn. We still do neighborly stuff for each other here, maybe because we all grew up near Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood.
2. At least once a month, say something nice about Pittsburgh to someone who knows little about our town.
Resist the urge to say that you had to leave the city to get the job you wanted, and please do not mention our city’s politics, which are an easy target that can quickly lead to low blows. Think of something nice to say about our city, and work it into a conversation with a person who knows nothing about Pittsburgh or even better, one who hates the Steelers.
3. Give us a call.
We miss you, which is why we tend to turn our backs on you when you leave town. By giving us a call and wishing us well, you’ll provide a psychological boost to Pittsburghers, which could translate into more productivity, greater creativity and a better season next year for the Steelers.
4. Plan a trip to Pittsburgh, then come see us.
You talk a lot to your kids or spouse about the way things were in Pittsburgh, yet you never take them here. Engender a true love of the Steel City in their hearts by taking them to see the homeland. Whether historic architecture, cultural attractions or outdoor recreation is your bag, it’s here. If enough of you visit, the injection of money will have a real impact on the region’s economy.
5. Invest in a Pittsburgh-based business.
There are so many large and small companies here that you have a lot of choices for potential investments. You don’t even have to leave your home to do it.
6. If you have a child considering colleges or technical school, suggest that he consider a Pittsburgh school.
We have dozens of colleges, universities and technical and training schools in the Pittsburgh area. Many of these schools are among the best in the world in their fields. For expatriates, a secondary benefit of sending their children to school here is the chance for the kids to learn the mother tongue. With some practice, your child could be fluently asking “How yins doin?” by the time he graduates.
7. Buy a book or two produced by a Pittsburgh-based author or publisher.
Buying into our city’s literary scene will not only edify you, it will help to enhance Pittsburgh’s reputation as one of America’s most literary cities. And it will inch us closer to being named “One of America’s Most Writerly Cities.”
8. Read Pittsburgh publications, such as the local newspapers and magazines. Publications such as the local newspapers, magazines and journals are definitive sources of Pittsburgh culture. You might not like all of that culture, but it’s still easy to access, and reading it is a way to get a deeper look at the place that your favorite football players call home.