Being a Steelers fan is special. It's special because of all the incredible players we have idolized. It's special because of the vivid memories of spine tingling playoff games and Super Bowls. But most of all, it's special because there is a bond, a relationship - from those who watch the game with us weekly, to those who live miles away but share our passion. Those that we may not have ever met outside of a message board.© 2012 Steelers Universe
For the last several years I have grown to become good friends with Ed. Those who are familiar with this board know him as Texasteel. He and I have corresponded on this board, as well as on others, and I have grown to form an admiration for him that I hope he shares in return.
We have swapped Steelers stories, shared memories from both on and off the field, collaborated on mock draft material, and shared personal heartaches and victories.
Several weeks ago Ed contacted me and said he would be driving through my area. He wanted to know if I might be available to meet with him as he came back from Pittsburgh and was heading home. I was excited about the opportunity. We texted each other throughout the weekend, and on Sunday (November 25th) he kept me posted as to where he was and what time he expected to get to my location.
Just before lunch the doorbell rang and there at the door was Ed...exactly as I pictured him. A kind and mature man with laughing eyes and a willing smile. I welcomed him with a hug and introduced him to Mary, who is considerably more worth driving to see than I am. We talked awhile and then drove to a local place for wings and a "few" drinks. We were lucky enough to be seated directly in front of the big screen television that was showing the Steelers game.
We talked about everything. The talk ran the gambit, from our pitiful quarterback situation to what is going on in our personal lives.
Mary, who is every bit as wise as she is pretty, excused herself to make a "Wal-Mart run," leaving us to talk freely. We both laughed at some of our more colorful posters and we both became teary eyed and quiet when talking about our beloved Marianne. We spoke of family. We asked each other questions. We winced at some of the poor play we were witnessing on the screen and reminisced about players from our youth.
It was nice. Two people, separated by geography, age, and experience but joined through the unlikely medium of a fan site.
That is why it's special to be a fan of the Steelers. That's why some wise person once coined the phrase "Steeler Nation." Ed and I are part of a special fan base, and even more importantly, part of a special fan site. We are friends...we are family.
Mary rejoined us and we finished watching the game. Our beloved Steelers lost, but I didnít experience the usual frustration and irritation that I usually feel after a loss. As we drove back from the restaurant, we were still laughing and joking around.
Ed and I parted with another hug and a promise to get together this summer for a weekend of wineries and live music.
As I watched Ed drive away, I was left wondering about the personal side of each of our posters. From our admins down to the newest member. We only see a glimpse of each other's personalities and private lives. We only see the tip of the iceberg that makes each of us who we are.
Sure, some of us grow somewhat close, at least as close as a message board will allow, but my time with Ed helped me to see him as a person...a person truly worth knowing. Behind each of our pseudonyms is a human being. A person who is possibly experiencing those same personal heartaches and personal victories that Ed and I shared.
We are initially brought together by our love for the greatest sports franchise in history...and we are reminded that our fan base is made up real people. People just like us.
An afternoon with Ed is why being a Steelers fan is special.