Seattle native loves Pittsburgh
Due to increasing traffic because of the STILLERS VICTORY we got off track and off our bandwidth for a few days. But we’re back with more juice! Thank you for your patience.
And on that note, check out the wonderful column below, which appeared in the Seattle Times. It speaks for itself! (Thanks to a friend and native Pittsburgher – now living in England! – for sending me the article.)
Editorials & Opinion: Friday, January 27, 2006
By Kathy M. Newman
Special to The Times
Don’t get me wrong. I love Seattle. And I grew up with the Seahawks.
Their franchise started in 1976 when I was 10 years old. Naturally, the peak year of my devotion to the Seahawks was 1983 Ã¢â‚¬â€? the season during which the Seahawks made it to the AFC Championship.
That fall I watched every game from a chair next to my father’s hospital bed. My father, Bill Newman, died of leukemia that December at the age of 40. A few weeks later, the Seahawks lost the AFC Championship to the Oakland Raiders. I abandoned the Seahawks for grief, for college, for graduate school, and, eventually, for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
In 1997, I got my Ph.D. in American Studies and was offered my first job as an English professor at Carnegie Mellon University. I was excited to be offered a job in a real city with hills, rivers, unions, history, bricks, brains and bridges. Pittsburgh, I thought, is what Seattle will be in 100 years if it’s lucky. Seattle, with its Microsoft billions, is like Pittsburgh 100 years ago, with its Carnegie/Fricke/Mellon/Scaife millions.
Today, after nine years in the ‘burgh, I’m a committed Pittsburgher and devoted Steelers fan. I watch every game with my husband Ã¢â‚¬â€? who is cool enough to have loved the Steelers even before he moved here from Alabama. We let our 2-year-old son watch, too. He can say “hut” and “a-ball” (football).
My mom called from Seattle last Sunday, just as the Seahawk fans were starting to celebrate their anticipation of the Super Bowl. “You have to root for Seattle,” she said. “It’s our first time.”
I sympathized with her plea. I was surprised by how choked up I felt when I saw a chiseled and slightly weathered Jim Zorn, the hero of my youth (in the 1970s, his license plate read “Zorn Again”), working as the quarterback coach for Matt Hasselbeck.
So why am I rooting for the Steelers? Team sports are the closest thing we have to a kind of regional nationalism. When we wear our Black and Gold, we say to each other: This city is our nation. These are our colors. We are each others’ people. And so here’s why Pittsburgh is my city, and the Steelers are my team:
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Because I can afford to live here. My house cost $60,000. It has three full bathrooms, four bedrooms and a finished basement. It is located four miles from where I work. It is located eight blocks from the cafÃ¯Â¿Â½ Tazzo d’Oro and Highland Park.
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Because I get to live in the city Ã¢â‚¬â€? and not the soulless suburbs of my youth Ã¢â‚¬â€? with the chance of sending my son to a good public school.
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Because Pennsylvania has an income tax. My mother had to sell my childhood home on Seattle’s Eastside because her property taxes were more than $1,000 per month.
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Because Pittsburgh is big enough to have museums/parks/symphonies/an underground music scene/good restaurants/fantastic universities, and small enough that last year I learned everything I needed to know about city politics by working on a few political campaigns.
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Because I’ve never been stuck in traffic for more than 30 minutes Ã¢â‚¬â€? and that happens about four times per year. (Seattleites spend 53 hours per year delayed in traffic.)
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Because we have Starbucks here now, too.
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Because we have an airport that is rated No. 1 in the country for its size. We’re still working on getting an airline to match, but, even still, if I have to leave Pittsburgh, I always look forward to getting to the airport. And, when I do get there, it only costs $6.25 per day to park for an extended stay. (At Sea-Tac, it’s $20 per day Ã¢â‚¬â€? or $85 per week.)
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Because I live in a multiracial, working/middle-class neighborhood where kids play basketball in the alley and ride their bikes on the street.
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Because Pittsburghers have a sense of history and respect for the working-class immigrants that built our nation.
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Because the Children’s Museum, the Zoo, the Carnegie Museums, the Phipps Conservatory, the Aviary and the Center for Creative Play are all fewer than 20 minutes from our house.
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Because Pittsburgh has one more clear day per year than Seattle! (Pittsburgh boasts 59 clear days per year, while Seattle gets 58.)
Kathy M. Newman, a Seattle area native, is an English professor at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh and author of “Radio Active: Advertising and Consumer Activism.”
Copyright Ã‚Â© 2006 The Seattle Times Company