The Grin in Chagrin

February 7, 2011 at 6:20 am 3 comments

The NFL football season ended last night. I, like all of Steeler Nation, feel bad.

But. I don’t feel that bad.

I haven’t screamed. I’ve barely pouted. Until 7:35 this morning, I had not shed a tear.

I don’t feel that bad. And that baffles me.

I suspected, at first, a scenario in which I am in a coma, last night was an IV-induced dream, and Rocky Bleier is my doctor.

But. At work, fully clothed, unable to fly, pinched myself. I’m awake.

It’s real, eh?

Well, maybe I don’t feel that bad because I got to have a lot of fun this season. Having attended only two Steeler games in my life (both losses), this year I got to attend two more:  the opener and the AFC Championship game. And, despite a temperature difference of about 70 degrees, I had a similarly exhilirating, palpitating, voice-losing, Towel-twirling, high-fiving-the-nephew, brought-home-a-winner blast at both.

Or maybe I can’t feel pain because my endorphin levels are still so high from the game of January 15. Could a win last night possibly have felt any better than the night we beat the Ravens? I wonder.

Then again, maybe I don’t feel horrible because the Packers are a team that’s hard to hate. Small market, storied history, fans who know the game—I’ve always felt the affinity. (Losing to Dallas in XXX was worse. So much worse.)

Look, I’m not saying I’m turning cartwheels (or would be turning cartwheels if I could do a cartwheel). But. I’m okay. Which is weird.

I was pondering thusly, in my car, coming up on 7:35 a.m., as I crossed the West End Bridge and veered right, onto the ramp to 65. And with the car aiming North, there—in a wee trickle of rare February morning light—sat Heinz Field. And I reached for my Steelers scarf like Linus Van Pelt.

Last night, I believed. Not wished. Not hoped. But believed the Steelers were going to win the Super Bowl. Even though (or, actually, because) the odds makers called them underdogs. Even after nearly all the talking-heads picked the green and gold. (Good on ya, Terry B.) Even after Pouncey finally, most definitely, had to sit out. Even after 58 minutes and 1 second of losing. I believed.

How is that possible? I’m a devout lapsed Optimist.

Think for a moment about how this season started. After last year? With Santonio gone and Ben suspended? With some rookie at center? Remember that? Yeah. Now, think about how you’ve felt for the past few weeks. How you felt going into last night’s game.

This year was extraordinary. This year was a transformation. This year surprised. And it wasn’t us. It wasn’t the media. It wasn’t Goodell. It wasn’t luck or juju or even our beloved Myron or the Rooney tradition or some dynasty magic.

This year was extraordinary because of that group of men on the field last night. The Steelers 2010 squad. Players and coaches. Good guys and “bad” guys and even a kinda skeevy guy (who I want to believe has changed but, bottom line, either way, is still an incomparable quarterback). Quiet guys and crazy guys. Big guys, tall guys, fast guys, and small guys. Veterans and rookies. This happy few. They made us believe. They overcame the obstacles. They played through the tendon-tearing, ankle-twisting, gut-wrenching, heart-breaking injuries. They stepped in and stepped up. They unselfishly supported each other. They kept their cool right next to their swag. They played with heart. And talent. They gave us an amazing season. They made it to the Super Bowl and let us come along for what was a wild and wonderful ride.

Maybe I don’t feel that bad because pride trumps disappointment.

But maybe they do feel that bad. And so I say, Gents:  Chin up. Stand tall. You had a great year. Thank you for being one of my favorite life preservers. And thank you for making me proud to be a Steeler fan every day—even today.

What was your favorite thing about the 2010 Steelers?



Entry filed under: Life Preservers. Tags: , , , .

Are You Ready? Isn’t It Romantic?

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Ruth  |  February 7, 2011 at 6:26 am

    I don’t feel that bad because the winners were Green Bay. (Agree completely on that Dallas loss!)
    I don’t feel that bad because the turnovers were not really mistakes, but opportunities made by Green Bay.
    I don’t feel that bad because we have a TEAM in the Steelers–and some good football to look forward to next year!.

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  • 2. Patty  |  February 7, 2011 at 9:51 am

    this also helps to take the sting out, and make you ever more proud of your heritage :) http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/02/04/AR2011020404732.html

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  • 3. boatdrinkbaby  |  February 7, 2011 at 10:26 am

    Great point, Patty. How did I miss that in my “why I don’t hate the Packers” paragraph! Thanks!

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