Sunday, November 21, 2010


As expected, as soon as I started vacuuming, the Steelers ran off 35 unanswered points to cream the Oakland Raiders in today’s game at Heinz Field, but I think the real reason the Black and Gold so successfully demolished their opponent had more to do with honoring one of their loyal fans, Dr. Alvin Philip Shapiro, who passed away exactly twelve short years ago and is still missed every single day by those he loved way more than a silly football team, although there were times, I’m sure—notably during my adolescence—when he probably would have preferred an afternoon with his favorite gridiron squad to one with his prodigal son, yours truly.

Or probably not.

In spite of whatever grief I ever caused the man, I never had any doubt about my place in his heart nor any worry that his frustration with me would last longer than the amount of time I was being frustrating, nor any concern that I wouldn’t eventually return to his good graces, just as the Steelers today returned to their winning ways after last weekend’s stumble against the New England Patriots.

And in spite of taking a bit more pleasure in today’s victory than is becoming in one of my advanced years, I would gladly have traded a loss this game—and for every other one all season long for as long as it takes—for a moment to spend with my dad, although knowing him and his pragmatic ways, he’d probably have tried to convince me otherwise.

I can still see him in his long black ski parka, rumpled hat on head, navigating the stairway down to our seats in Three Rivers Stadium; there was a group of season ticket holders from all walks of Pittsburgh life who we sat with for years; they all called him “Doc” and passed down beer and hotdogs from the vendors; what I wouldn’t give to have been there today with them all.


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