today is a big day in the city of pittsburgh. no, there's no election. there's no monumental decision coming from mayor ravenstahl. there is no G20 conference happening or any foreign diplomats having brunch at deluca's or a brew at gooski's. no, today is far more important than that for pittsburghers.
today opens the nfl playoffs in pittsburgh for our beloved steelers. troy polamalu is listed as probable, which means he'll play. the hated ravens are in town, complete with ray lewis and all of his old spice magic. not only that, the steelers game is sandwiched between the cult favorite penguins visiting a recent rival, the boston bruins, and the yuppy favorite pitt panther basketball team visiting new jersey to play seton hall. days do not get much bigger for sports fans in pittsburgh!
as i sit in the benedum computer lab at pitt doing my homework (sort of), i check my facebook to see the statuses flooding with sentiments about the game. "my heart can't take it", "our father who art in pittsburgh", and suggestions that ravens fans are sons and daughters of drug dealers and hookers. part of me can't help but wonder, who cares?
i know it's blasphemous to say as a pittsburger, but in all reality, today's results have little to do with our lives as a whole. to a degree, we base our happiness on the success and failures of our favorite teams, but why? i've debated this plenty before.
so, why do we care about sports?
well, i'll tell you why. the world is a broken place. the economy is in the tank, negative propaganda is around every corner, and people are living in the streets. there's a lot to be upset about in this world. but when it comes down to it, sports rally us together. today at 4:30, none of it will matter. the bills sitting on our desks, the job search that seems to have stalled, the girl or boy who broke your heart, none of it matters. for 60 minutes of football, the only thing that matters is our boys beating their boys.
sports give us a release. for some, like my good blogging friend abby (www.abbynormally.com), running is that release. for my friend charles and plenty of pitt students, that escape comes with ultimate frisbee. for me, it's mostly basketball. for pittsburgh, it's the steelers (and, today, penguins and panthers). the steelers give us hope. we will undoubtably experience some ultimate highs and some ultimate lows today. hopefully we can do the same next week and in 3 weeks at the super bowl. but we get that escape today. today, we are all pittsburghers. that guy in the computer lab spitting into his empty red bull every 3 minutes, the girl tapping her pen in class, and the customers who you can't quite communicate with. today they're wearing a steelers jersey. today we are family.
so, sports are generally pointless in our lives. we get physical and emotional exercise, but at the end of the day they don't solve any problems. in american society today, though, sometimes we need pointless activity to keep going. pressures of accomplishment and success are all around, so for once let's put the pressure on someone else and enjoy seeing what they make of it. here we go steelers.