Some of you are probably reading this and thinking “hmm, I wonder why he says ‘most humble'”, others: “HA! Not true!”, and still others are thinking: “That’s right we are!”. So for those that are not in the latter group, here me out …
Pittsburgh is indeed known as the City of Champions, indisputable unless you live in a cave somewhere up in Greenville, PA or something. The Steelers have titles in 1975, 1976, 1979, 1980, 2006, & 2009, an NFL record 6! The Pirates have World Series titles in 1909, 1925, 1960, 1971, and 1979. The Penguins have titles in 1991 & 1992. There are also 5 Football & 2 Basketball National Titles at the University of Pittsburgh (Pitt), plus other sports. So anyways, I digress from proving the City of Champions point.
Now, as you can easily see, the Steelers are of most recent success, then the Pens (and as you very well know, we’re hoping for another Cup very very soon!). Even the Pitt basketball team has been a Top 16 team over the past few years, with expectations as high as winning the NCAA Tournament for this season, 2009. Now the other prominent team I left out of this discussion were the Pirates, last tasting championship success in 1979. It’s been some time, “The Family” is indeed broken.
The Pittsburgh Pirates are on the verge of their 17th consecutive LOSING season. After years of success, great ballplayers coming through, the Pirates have done nothing for the game of baseball over this past decade and a half other than to build the world’s most beautiful ballpark and put a lousy team in it. That has to be sacrilegious.
You see, Pittsburgh is a simple hardworking town. We all know where we came from … ethnic origins to our own personal roots. Baseball is woven into the Pittsburgh fabric. If you’ve lived here for any some time, you know you can’t drive more than 4 miles without passing a local ball-field. So watching the Pirates not even come close to a winning season is demoralizing and frustrating. Our parents grew up watching the greats, grew up going to old Forbes Field to catch a game in the summer time. We can do the same, great ballpark with a great view, but too bad we can’t experience what our folks did when they could catch a great game too.
Pittsburgh is the City of Champions, but we’ve been humbled over the years … the past 16 years to be exact. We’ve experienced the lowest of lows when it comes to sports, just not losing championships, but not even tasting a .500 or better season in a sport so intertwined within our culture! Other towns are perennial losers, to which I feel especially sorry, but hey, shape up, we want the ole Buccos too, we just can’t buy out Nutting. But the difference between those other towns and Pittsburgh is that we have had decent success across the board, just the Pirates have brought us back down to Earth over the past 2 decades. Maybe that’s a good thing? Maybe God is teaching us a lesson through the Pirates … “Humility, the Gospel according to the Pirates” – a Sunday Sermon coming soon! Ha, but anyways, we’ve been humbled, we may not be enjoying this, but we are.
Let’s just hope our lesson has been learned, we’re really itching to add some swagger back to our walk when leaving the ole ballpark!