My husband has been a Pittsburgh Steelers fan forever, and our boys have followed in his footsteps with much love for the black and gold. I go along for the ride because … I bought a Michael Kors purse in a bold yellow-gold, so that’s all it takes to make me a fan. Right?
Recently, I had to take a trip to Pittsburgh for a work conference. It turned out the conference was the same weekend that the Pittsburgh Steelers played their home opener for the 2013 season. Since my presentation would be done on Sunday morning at 9:00am, my husband and I decided to surprise the kids by purchasing tickets to the game. We had never been to a professional football game as a family — won’t this be fun, I thought.
My husband and the boys drove up to Pittsburgh after their own football games on Saturday and we spent the night in the hotel paid for by my company. Once my presentation was over the next morning, I took both the boys out to a buffet breakfast at the Westin. They thought the best thing about it was the bottomless glass of chocolate milk. Nick downed four large glasses in less than 20 minutes and told our waitress “My mom never lets me have this much chocolate milk. I love your restaurant!”
My husband didn’t go with us because as he saw it: “why the #$%* would I wake early up to go eat an unlimited amount of scrambled eggs and bacon? I’ll just get something at the stadium.” The stadium does not offer all you can eat and is three times the price of the buffet. But screw it, this was a mini-vacation, right?
We decided to walk to the stadium from our hotel. It was great — there were plenty of other Steelers fans making the same trek across the bridge to where PNC Park (Pirates) and Heinz Field (Steelers) are located. Black and gold excitement was in the air!
We arrived at the stadium early. We had a bit over an hour before game time, so we found our way to our $222 (each!) seats. The seats cost slightly less than my fabulous yellow Michael Kors purse. And only a bit more than my husband would end up spending on his stadium lunch.
The tickets gave us a great vantage point of the entire field and stadium, and especially the ginormous scoreboard.
Fans could tweet messages with #SteelersBoard in them and possibly get their tweet and pictures on the jumbo tron (do they still call the screens that?). So I tweeted this:
And then I saw my tweet on the board — how exciting! So I quickly grabbed my cell phone and snapped a picture of it:
The seats around us quickly filled up. Local Steelers fans are rabid. And big drinkers. And big cussers. Especially the four gals who were sitting behind us. Two of them spilled beer on me and my son, one kicked my seat every time the Steelers did something wrong (I stopped counting after her perfectly pedicured toes jammed the back of my seat 37 times), and all four of them spewed forth language that made my potty mouth look like a freshly Lysoled, never-before-used bathroom.
When it came time for food, Nick refused to eat the burger my husband bought him for lunch because it had onions on it. I informed him that the cheeseburgers at McDonald’s have onions, and he had no problem woofing those down. He rolled his eyes as he responded, “Are you sure they use onions at McDonald’s? I think you are making that up to try and make me feel bad. Is that how you roll?”
Overall, the Steelers played pathetically and lost due to an anemic offensive effort. My husband summed up our first-ever experience at Heinz Field with the 3 little words every woman loves to hear: “Wasted ‘effin money.” Our oldest son Alex was able to use the words suck/sucky/supersucky/stupidsucky/suckiest nearly once a minute during the 30 minute trek back to our car, in an effort to describe the experience of watching his beloved Steelers suck in-person.
As the 61,000+ dejected fans — including three particularly despondent men I had to ride 3+ hours home in a car with — made their way back across the bridge, Nick blurted out “Why do lesbians need a festival?” So I stopped and looked where Nick was staring. And this is what I saw:
Finally, something about the experience that made me smile. And didn’t suck.