Then, I went to Ohio University. My junior year, I lived across the hall from these three hot guys. These hot guys were from Pennsylvania. They were Steelers fans, and every Sunday, they would put on their jerseys, take out their Terrible Towels, grab a beer, and go crazy. Since I, a) liked beer and, b) liked boys, I often joined in the festivities. I would watch their Pittsburgh Steelers (who weren’t very good back then, with Tommy Maddox at the helm), and I would watch my neighbors watching their Pittsburgh Steelers. Soon, I focused solely on the game—in particular on this attractive, charismatic, smiling fool, known as Hines Ward. I liked the spitting, angry coach fellow with the huge chin, too.Two years later, post-college graduation, I had my very own Jerome Bettis jersey, and the Steelers (bless them) went to Super Bowl XL. I’ve been with them ever since. I booed when we drafted Ben Roethlisberger, because he was from the University of Miami—Ohio University’s bitter nemesis. I forgave him, when he won a Super Bowl, and I won’t even get into how I feel about him now (personally: bad; professionally; glad). I have since moved beyond an addiction to Hines Ward, and I now embrace the entire team. My current jersey belongs to Troy Polamalu (I love watching his lengthy locks fly parallel to the ground as he inflicts painful tackles and interceptions to players nationwide), and I’m still breaking in my new Terrible Towel, received this past Christmas.
And who would have thought we’d be going to another Super Bowl this Sunday night?
It is not fun to watch me watch the Steelers. I stomp, I scream, I cuss, and I’ve been known to pace down dark hallways, unable to look at the TV screen. I drink too much beer, and I bellow profanities—especially when a Super Bowl title is on the line. You should have seen me during Super Bowl XLIII (with sexy Mike Tomlin as our new coach). It was the scariest game I’ve ever seen, and even though we won, I was inconsolable for a good five minutes after the fourth quarter clock finally ran out. I imagine I’ll be the same way this coming Sunday, as always, when the Pittsburgh Steelers have the ball.Watching football steals hours from my days and possibly years from my life. But I will never give it up. It is my version of doing nothing. It’s my version of total unwind, because I can thoughtlessly scream at my TV and relieve the tensions of the week. Behind church, it’s my favorite form of Sunday worship. I hope we win on Sunday. If we don’t, sure I’ll probably cry, locked in a bathroom somewhere. But I’ll feel very much alive—passionate blood pumping through my veins.
It’s not every day you go to a Super Bowl. It’s not every day you wake up with an ultimate, fanatical purpose. I have my purpose Sunday. After church, I will come home, put on my jersey, unfold my Terrible Towel, and plant my ass in front of the TV. Exquisite is the utter simplicity of sports, and lovely is a successful season.