Monday, February 2, 2009
Sometime last night, probably in the space between holding court on the complete inanity of challenges and instant replay and -- cream cheese on a ritz, awarding another challenge if you win your first two? When the fuck did pro football turn into Price is Right? and and oh, yeah, between that and wondering why my team couldn't punch in a ball from first and goal . . . in EIGHT tries, I remembered I wrote some despairing post last year as my team wilted in the playoffs. Look, right here, I did. Sad.
And there I was, about to throw up two bowls of chili, two beers, and a car bomb cupcake, suddenly jumping off the couch throwing high fives, tiptoeing through my neighbor's living room.
I'm genetically a Steeler's Fan. My family, both sides, extended, derive from the Pittsburgh region. My father hung on to USX stock (the real macoy printed on paper) even as it plummeted into junk, out of some nostalgia because his father had worked there. I had great grandmothers and aunts who listened to pre-season Pirates games, and in the 80s remembered line-ups from the early 60s. I grew up in a state (ironically, home of the other team in his year's big bowl extravaganza) at a time when there were no other pro sports teams there save for the Suns. (I tell ya, I'm OLD people. Old.) Ergo, Steelers, Pirates, Penguins, and Suns. It makes perfect sense in my head.
My dad taught me about football, and my family about loyalty. As in, you will be kicked out of wills.
Twenty odd years ago on a warm Sunday afternoon in late August, a few days fresh to New York City, I found myself alone in a dorm tv lounge, and flipped through the channels and found . . . pre-season. Steelers/Giants.
"Who's winning?" said a voice from the doorway. "Not the Steelers," I said with a snort. The kid wanted to know why on earth a girl -- er, young woman -- from Arizona was a Steelers fan? And more to the point, why a young woman would be watching football, preseason football, voluntarily? By herself?
Kid was nice. Kid was cute.
Kid became my husband.
In some strange universe, I owe my life as it is, good bad and ugly, to these guys who run around in black and gold tights on Sunday afternoons between September and February. Mr. ABF is an Eagles fan, and for a long time we bought Bella both jerseys and swapped them depending on who was playing when, and who had won the last head-to-head game. I've kinda relinquished the fact that she is growing up here, and the Eagles will be her team. And I'm thrilled it's not only in her neighborhood, but her bloodstream.
I believe far more in luck (and bad luck at that) than fate, and certainly a string of it brought us together, and placed us here, and delivered us (eventually) Bella and then Maddy.
She's never far from my thoughts during all these seemingly shallow and insipid moments. Last year I felt the world was conspiring to make my winter as wretched as possible, reminding me metaphorically in a blown third down call that life can be going along swimmingly and suddenly go all to shit. This year there is the slightest of springs in my step as I stare down the precipice of February. It's all luck, the meeting, the living, the dying, the missed tackles and toes dragging in bounds with mere seconds left. And that will somehow have to carry me through the next few weeks, the crazy that got me here and and will eventually see me through.