A few weeks ago I was able to check off another item on my bucket list; I finally saw my favorite NFL team play live. I’ve been a Pittsburgh Steelers fan since I was a little girl in the 70s. Being as I grew up in California, my family (made up of 49ers fans and Raiders fans) didn’t understand why I would choose a Pennsylvania team to root for, when we had so many California NFL teams to choose from at the time.
What’s not to understand? The Steelers teams in the 70s won four Super Bowls, they were gritty, they were winners, they had awesome uniforms—so they were my team. Still, in all these years as a fan, I was never able to make it to a Steelers game. I moved to the Dallas area about six years ago (and immediately hosted my first Steelers Super Bowl Party). I’m surrounded by Cowboys fans, bless their hearts. They don’t like the Steelers and I don’t like the Cowboys, but we tolerate each other. The Steelers have been to three Super Bowls since I moved here, and they won two of them. I wanted to go to the Super Bowl held at Cowboys Stadium, but I didn’t have an extra $4,000.00 to spare for a ticket.
Though I did participate in all the Super Bowl activities, I was heartbroken to once again be so close to the Steelers, and not get to see them play. When this seasons NFL schedule came out, I saw that the Steelers were playing the Houston Texans in Houston in October. No way was I, or my significant other, who happens to be a Steelers fan, missing out on that game.
We stayed at a hotel very near Reliant Stadium in Houston and we met a ton of fellow Steelers fans. We spent the night before the game outside the hotel with a group of fans, playing the bean bag toss game, enjoying a few adult beverages, and getting to know other members of Steelers Nation. It was an incredibly fun night and I even met a person from my home town in California. Small world.
Game day came and we decked ourselves out in Steelers gear and headed to the blue lot for tailgating. We were greeted with boos by Texans fans, and cheers by fellow Steelers fans. We marveled at the sea of black and yellow wearing fans. We shared food, drinks, music and laughs with other tailgaters and when the Steelers fight song was put on, a group of 20 of us gathered with Terrible Towels in hand to dance, sing and wave the towels to the music. I even spotted a Texans fan stopping to record the crazy Steelers fans who invaded their parking lot. It was a beautiful day in Houston; even though the Steelers would go on to lose the game.
Yes, we lost the game. However, it didn’t take away the joy I felt to be there, in great seats I might add, finally getting to cheer my team on in person. I waved at Hines Ward, cheered for Troy Polamalu, and grimaced every time Ben Roethlisberger was sacked. The Texans set a stadium attendance record that day—thanks to the 20,000 Steelers fans who showed up to support our team. And though I fully intend to make it to Heinz Field to see the Steelers play at home, this Houston game and the experiences with the fans served to reinforce my love for my team. See Steelers game—-check!
Please feel free to check out some of my photos from my Steelers Vs Texans weekend in the slideshow box to the left of this article!
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