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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

O' 21, The Crock the Crock is Calling...

I would imagine many may be to this point of the evening themselves if they are still awake and drinking o' the green beer or the Guinness - unintelligible singing and possible crying. I myself have avoided that fate, primarily due to lack of a proper sweater and hat in which to do so, secondarily due to distraction of many kinds including but not limited to: gambling, lemonade, pretzels, other writing tiddlybits that needed doing, and even asparagus! It has taken me a while to get to the crockpot this evening, and once here, I was drawn to yesterday's picture of Maya Angelou and Harry Monster, and how nice it seemed to be able to hug a muppet. I would like to see someone hug a muppet and not smile. I don't think it can be done!

It may not be easy being green, but I did see a lot of wearin' o' the green today, as is the custom, and it made me truly (a lame-o and) happy.

Then, before the work day was through, optimism of the highest order came home to roost as news of President Obama's appointment of Steelers owner Dan Rooney as ambassador to Ireland broke. I cannot adequately describe the ways in which this is fantastic without somehow having the reader live in Pittsburgh for 2-3 weeks, preferably during the NFL playoffs. It is a validation of Pittsburgh on the whole when the guy running the franchise that owns the hearts of every person who knows what the phrase "Mon river valley" describes is rewarded for his hard work, integrity, and years of plugging away at things with hard work, humility, and no expectation of individual reward.

This would be the allegory for the city itself and its perception of work ethic. The man who owns the team that is already held aloft by the citizens, current and former, of a city as the embodiment of the city is now being recognized. If All the Mills' Men were to be written, but with more of a happy outcome for Pittsburgh idealism and less intentionally self-serving political maneuvering and licentious behavior, this would be a fine storyline. The lifelong Republican turned Democrat endorsing a candidate for president to sway the very people who trust him with their greatest resource and pride - their football team - to vote for him as well despite much-entrenched, antiquated, hideous racist tendencies of their ancestors' immigrant pasts, and to do so by giving him the biggest symbol of acceptance of all, more than a key to the city would show were the mayor on hand - a Steeler jersey with his name on it. OBAMA.
That was the only image needed for people to get it.

And now this guy has been given recognition for his lifelong efforts to help Ireland, appointed a place of prestige for something near to his heart.

Our Steelers guy! A diplomat! This somehow validates everything on a scale beyond the appreciation of the borders of the city by association: the city, the Steelers, the Irish, the President, the wearin' o' the green. Our Super Bowl win - all of it.

The AP story blurb I read had this quote:
"Art Rooney said the Steeler operation will continue as it has in the past with the goal of winning another Super Bowl.”

That made me guffaw out loud - that's the city's ambition, not just the Steelers' ambition, and its nowhere near that casual.

Then I saw the Pittsburgh
paper had a quote that was a bit more in the spirit of the Steelers:
"Our goal, as it is every year, is to win another Super Bowl championship."

Though the messages seem to be the same, they are rhetorically very different. "[A]nother Super Bowl" quest "as it has in the past" is far more casual and suggests that there would be other options in other years of how to approach a season. Or that, as done in seasons when they had not won a Super Bowl in a while, the Steelers will try to win a Super Bowl because that's what teams say they intend to do when they start the season.

The actual quote reaffirms the status quo that defines the Steelers and makes the city believe fervently in the power of the team. There is no other option - the goal is to be a team that wins it all. Not an assembly of fancy players, not individual stars, not a franchise just happy to make the playoffs, or content themselves with last year's championship - a team that wants to win it all and works to do that.
And only that.

It is very hard to paint a vivid enough picture of the city of Pittsburgh and its residents' relationship to the Steelers, but I know that two seasons ago one writer did.

I will try to dig that one up. In the meantime, though spotty and black and gold and green, this is going to have to stew for now because it's late!

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