Pittsburgh Steelers fans are a special breed. They attend church services on Saturday nights to free up Sundays for football. They fly Steelers flags from their porches. The public works department paints the town’s fire hydrants black and gold.
We’ve got family in the City of Bridges, so we root for the Steelers, too. That includes Bow, who adores these Sundays when we all come together, in-person and virtually.
On this particular day, the “Stillers,” as they’re called in Pittsburgh, are set to play the Cincinnati Bengals at 10 a.m.
Here’s how it unfolds:
7:30 a.m.: Early text to our family to the east to wish them luck, then we grab the pigskin, which looks like it’s been tossed about since the 1980s, and head to our Fullerton park. If Bow played pro, she’d be a wide-receiver or defensive back. She likes to nab the deflated ball, and she likes to go for interceptions when my wife and I play catch. When she fumbles the leather, she panics, scrambles, snatches it back in her staunch jaw.
8:30 a.m.: Family breakfast (Bow is pro-eggs). A few errands around the house, Bow on our heels.
9:30 a.m.: Dress Bow in her secret-Santa Steelers scarf. Put out game snacks, including two for Bow (one at the end of the first quarter, another at the end of the third).
9:50 a.m.: Orange County and L.A. friends arrive. It’s getting busy. Bow knows kickoff is coming.
10 a.m.: Facetime with the Pittsburgh platoon. Hope and jitters. Cheering. Bow barking (three high-pitchers, almost like applause). The game begins.
10:05 a.m. to 1:07 p.m.: The pack jams into our den, bonding over a common cause. Twists and turns. Agony, ecstasy. A wild, overtime game. Pittsburgh wins, 23-20, on a 53-yard field goal by Chris Boswell.
Midnight: I’m doing this thing that baffles my wife: Watching ESPN highlights of the game we watched earlier today. Bow sleeps at my side, one paw cradling her football.