Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The fabled 'Steelers' blog entry; as foretold in the prophecies

Here is my account of my first NFL experience, which happened... two months ago or so(?). I'm not expecting the details to be razor sharp, but I do have some pictures to jog my memory!

My good friend Allison, true to her word, took me to see the Steelers play the Bengals, which was more than decent of her! Spending the day with the locals made me feel as though I was getting the 'full' experience - which started with crossing the Allegheny river on a ferry, where I took a few pictures of the interesting things that popped up along the way, like this pretty fountain:

Once we got over, we met up with Allison's Dad and his friends, and I checked out the whole 'Tailgating' thing that baffles me so much. As mentioned in an earlier post, the premise is that the fans amass before the games in the car parks around the stadium, set up tables, chairs, or whatever, then eat and drink beer until the game starts! There are some pretty elaborate setups, ranging from simple lawn chairs and prepared food in tupperware, to RVs decked out with bigscreens, with food cooked on a barbeque!

I ate my fill of oddly named Pittsburgh 'specialities', all the while suppressing the grimace that instinctively accompanied each chew and swallow. In an attempt to settle my stomach, I wandered around to see what the other tailgaters were up to.

I know the pictures aren't great, but bear in mind that the big bus converted into a Steelers-mobile was a fan production! And that big Steelers blow up figure was also put there by a fan. I also wanted to take a picture of a sign, with black text on a gold background (Steelers' colours), that read "Fuck Ohio and the Horse they rode in on", but I was afraid of the woman who sat underneath it - she could have eaten me, and I've learned it's best not to upset fat people.

Here's about a quarter of the tailgating party I was attending.

The Tailgating thing is a nice tradition - it gets people excited about the game - at least that's the effect it had on me, as I was discussing the Steelers' prospects against their rivals, considering our quarterback was still struggling with injury. Another nice purpose these tailgating parties provide; sustenance! Those football games take hours! Four 20-minute quarters add up to quite a long time when you factor in the minute or so of stoppage in between every play! Unless you're well fed going into the game, you'll end up spending a lot of money on ridiculously overpriced stadium-food! (which I indulged in anyway, just for the sake of experience)

Anyways - we eventually ventured into the Stadium - which is pretty friggin' nice, by the by. Here's the entrance to Heinz Field:

After heading in, there was some unspectacular high-school band playing something in the background, while everybody waited for the teams to make their way onto the field. We went over by the tunnel to watch the players emerge, and it was quite the spectacle - in fact - I suggest you check out the footage I took; it'll give you a better idea of what it was like. After the Bengals plodded onto the field, greeted by a cachophony of boos and jeers, the Steelers got the heroes welcome that they didn't deserve, seeing as they've gone from Superbowl Champs to 'We'll be very lucky to make the playoffs this year'.

If you couldn't tell from the last, almost bitter sentence in that paragraph, I'm getting into this whole 'American Football' lark! It's hard not to - I generally watch the Steelers games with my suitmates, Tony and Dan (Dave's never around on match day, sniff), who constantly berate the decisions made by the players and officials, so I pick it up! I understand the rules and the gist of what's going on - not too sure on the strategies and all that, but I've become accustomed to the stop-start nature of the game - I was mostly educated on the sport by playing it on PS2, but hey, whatever works - right?

Here's a pic from my seat:

Nice Yes? I'm but one of the 65,050 (approx) present at this sellout game.

Those yellow things that are being held up are towels... The Terrible Towel, to be precise - one which is never more than a foot from my head when I sleep! I won't go into the origins (Wikipedia will do a better job than I could), but trust me when I say every fan has to have one. The done thing is; every good play will be complemented by the fans standing, cheering, and waving their towels around, which is a feast for the eyes, believe you me! It's also good fun to join in, making random noises and feeling the fanning effect of the propellor like motion every person around you is making.

Here's another picture I took after half-time (after enjoying some finger-lickin' chicken wings!) that might explain the scope of Heinz Field.

The Steelers lost by 8 points, which was as shame, as they really did throw it away (but I won't get into that now... or ever). Despite the loss, the whole experience was pretty worthwhile - so much so that I'm willing to post a rather "Mommy, what happened that man's face" picture of me having a good time there.

Uch - no more low angle shots. Ever.
Flattering, no?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Joking aside!