Do your Nation(al) duty and cheer for the Steelers in the Super Bowl
Mike (left) and son Jesse Gandley are two of the men who lead Steeler Nation / photo by Richard Retyi
In September I wrote about the Pittsburgh Steelers fan group Steeler Nation — a diehard collection of fans who gather at Aubree's (technically Sticks) in Ypsilanti to support the black and gold. I dropped in for Pittsburgh's season opener, a 15-9 overtime victory for the Steelers over the Atlanta Falcons, and the Nation won me over with its kindness, spirit and high fives.
Tomorrow, their beloved Steelers battle the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XLV, and I don't want to say I'm the reason Pittsburgh made it to the big game, but I don’t not want to say I'm the reason.
I don't owe the Steeler Nation anything — in the fall I walked away with a free T-shirt, six pounds of pizza in my stomach and a cool story — but it was a genuinely great time. I meant to go back — honest I did — but it never worked out. My friend Courtney, who was with me during my reportage, went back a bunch of times and invited me on each occasion, but I'm surprisingly lazy. Like, shockingly so. When it came time for the playoffs and my schedule thinned a bit, I got a little concerned that the Steelers might lose, and the Nation's collective eyes would fall on the jackass reporter — the jinx. I do not need Lex chasing me down Cross Street.
It will probably be next to impossible to shoehorn your way into Sticks this Sunday, but if you have a passing interest in the Super Bowl (aside from the commercials and Christina Aguilera singing the national anthem) and you're not sure who to root for, root for the Steelers. The Nation would appreciate it.
Rich Retyi writes columns for AnnArbor.com. Reach him via email.